Why is a community's relationship with nature important in urban forestry management? How can arborists promote the urban forest to the broader community and why does this matter?

Relationships are formed through shared experience and knowledge. Many see trees as valuable natural assets whilst others see them as a liability. The relationship  community has to the natural environment shapes policy, that in turn influences how trees are managed. Helping others to see trees, both for their individual personality and their relationship to nature, is important to help improve current policy development and practice.

Urban Forest Interactive is a website built by the City of Burnside allowing residents to identify trees around them, their role in the environment and through this learn more about the urban forest. Since its release in 2018, the website has won a number of awards and generated much interest both in Australia and overseas.

The City of Burnside is a small metropolitan Council with a population of 45,000, so how did an idea of building a tree website, similar to those developed by some of the largest cities in the world, get the unanimous endorsement of this Council?

This presentation entitled “I love trees because Trees are Messy” will explore why Urban Forest Interactive was built and what is needed to turn ideas into action.

Ben Seamark

Ben Seamark is an Environmental Manager and Consulting Arborist and has spent the past 25 years working with trees. He studied at Flinders University the University of Adelaide and Brookway Park school of Horticulture.

Ben joined the City of Burnside as Coordinator of Environmental Assets in 2016 where he is responsible for the management of trees, waste and biodiversity.

Ben’s work and life experiences have generated a passion for trees and their role in society and community, his other areas of interest include Environmental Economics, Information technology and Horticultural Science.  These interests have intersected to develop a drive to reconnect people to nature. In 2018 Ben was awarded TreeNet's Leadership in Urban Forestry for the development of Urban Forest Interactive, a website designed specifically to connect people to trees in their urban environment.