“Heritage Tree” (HT) programs are an essential method used to acknowledge and raise awareness about some of the world’s most majestic and important tree specimens.
Existing at all geographic scales, “Heritage” (aka “Significant”, “Exceptional”, “Old-Valuable”, “Monumental”, etc.) trees are valued due to various traits that are able to inspire wonder throughout society and provide a natural/anthropogenic connection in an age where such an appreciation is needed now more than ever.
However, while numerous programs exist globally, there has been a lack of standardisation regarding what criteria should be used to identify these individuals, even though the common objective of such programs is to recognise, promote and preserve these trees.

In order to reduce the lack of agreement associated with identifying HTs, I have utilized the Delphi research method, which seeks to obtain consensus from experts around the world on what the most important criteria should be, for a HT program. The intent of this research is to assist current and future HT programs through the use of the derived criteria in order to improve and create a standardized HT program that can be applicable in any geographic location.

This presentation consists of two parts. The first portion will go into detail regarding how Hawaii manages its “Exceptional Tree” program, the criteria used, legal policies in place and issues that need to be resolved to improve effectiveness. The second will focus on why this HT research is important, methodology used, results obtained and future research necessary to create a standardised HT program.

Myles Ritchie

Originally from Toronto, Canada, Myles has lived in Hawaii for a decade.
Working as the Programs Director for The Outdoor Circle since 2014, Myles is responsible for innovative project creation, design and implementation, as well as managing the various individuals who power these projects.
One of the main programs Myles created is the Exceptional Tree Mapping Initiative, which has required him to visit nearly all of the 1,000 exceptional trees statewide, gather their metrics, calculate their ecosystem service benefits and create a GIS map for public access and usage.
Most recently, Myles collaborated with Google for its Google Trekker program, which uploaded 360º “Street View” images of Hawaii’s outstanding natural and scenic features onto Google Maps/Earth.
Myles will complete his graduate degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the Department of Geography and Environment in 2019.
Myles is also honoured to have been appointed by the Mayor of Honolulu to serve as Vice-Chair for the City and County of Honolulu’s Arborist Advisory Committee.