Tree survey will help shape the future landscape of Portsmouth

A tree survey will take place this summer to help identify the diversity of trees in Portsmouth.

Surveyors and volunteers will be given the task of counting and labelling the types of trees within 250 sample plots throughout the city.

Forest Research, which is part of the Forestry Commission, will undertake the survey on behalf of Portsmouth City Council, which has commissioned the survey to learn more about the city’s treescape.

Cllr Kimberly Barrett, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “Understanding the types and number of trees we have in Portsmouth allows us to plan for the future. It will help guide our future planting, indicate any risks to the current treescape, and will crucially estimate the value our trees provide towards flood alleviation and air quality in the city.

“The survey is the start of building a greater understanding and awareness of the trees we already have, the benefits of these trees, and the opportunities we have for the future.”

The location of the 11-metre radius sample plots will be known at the end of March and while many will likely fall on council land, there may be some on private property or in residents’ gardens. Residents whose gardens have been identified will be asked if a surveyor can conduct the survey on their property.

Cllr Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, Health and Care, said: “Not only are trees important for our environment, but they are equally important for improving residents’ quality of life. This can be physically through the chemicals trees release – which strengthens our immune and nervous systems – and mentally, reducing stress and offering relief from symptoms of anxiety of depression. The survey provides a great opportunity to get out into the city and see first-hand the diversity of our trees.”

The survey is part-funded through the Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund, promoted by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT), on behalf of Defra and the Forestry Commission. This fund is providing local authorities with financial support to boost capacity and resource, helping them to employ, train up and bring on board professional expertise to drive tree planting and woodland creation commitments.

Richard Pearce, Forestry Commission Planting on Public Land Project Lead, said: “The Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund is part of Defra’s Nature for Climate Fund, supporting local authorities to plant more trees and woodlands in our local communities. Trees provide a wide range of benefits from creating habitats for wildlife, improving our health and wellbeing, capturing carbon and helping to improve water quality. Understanding what you have currently, and where the appropriate opportunities are for more trees, is an important part of the planning needed to ensure future success. We look forward to seeing the results and the acceleration of tree planting in Portsmouth.”

Results of the survey are expected in the autumn.