The World Health Organization estimate that 60% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2030; the competition for urban space will only increase and good planning is required. But history would suggest that even with the best-laid plans the ‘place’ that an urban tree grows in is likely to completely change two or three times during the life of the tree. It is not a case of change being good or bad, change will happen.

Change management and tree metrics looks at managing the individual tree as part of the urban forest, how the sum of the parts can be greater than the whole. By defining the role and function of a tree we can set metrics against it and measure the results. By giving a tree a purpose we can work out if it is achieving what it is supposed to achieve, we can manage the tree in relation to the forest and the forest in relation to its purpose. In this presentation I shall introduce the concept of repurposing our existing tree stock and explore opportunities that are often overlooked in big picture multi-discipline management. I shall examine the disconnect between what we know and what we do and try to form a connection for all the parties involved. Collaboration is the key to achieving real change and collaboration starts with a common purpose.

Going forward, pre-emptive engineering of urban green space and succession planning is key but as far as our urban forests go we need to understand what can be done with what we have, to make what we will have better. To achieve real change, not only do we need to change how we work, but we need to change how we think about the work we do.