Trees give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilise the soil and are hosts to wildlife. The canopies of trees act as a filter, trapping dust, absorbing pollutants from the air, offering shade to urban streets and reducing noise. Trees are aesthetically attractive, they strengthen the distinctive character of a place and encourage a feeling of community, bringing groups together for activities such as walking and bird-watching. Wooded areas can be used as an educational resource, providing a space for children to play in and discover their sense of adventure.
There is evidence that within minutes of being surrounded by trees and green space, people's blood pressure tends to drop, heart rate slows and stress levels come down.
WDVTA defines veteran trees as those that have reached full maturity and are showing signs of ageing. The age at which this occurs varies with species - an oak tree will take many more years to mature than a silver birch. Veterans are characterised by a number of features such as cavities and bark loss, which provide a good habitat for wildlife. An important indicator of a tree's veteran status is girth: the average increase in girth of a healthy, mature tree with a full crown is 2.5cm per year.
To mark the tenth anniversary of the launch of Wokingham District Veteran Tree Association (WDVTA) in 2007, we are publishing this Report to document our activities and achievements and to share this milestone with our many supporters, members and the wider Wokingham community. We also outline how the WDVTA's core activities and membership will develop to address the environmental challenges that the Borough of Wokingham is facing.
Our main activity has been surveying the Borough's veteran trees, the results of which have been recorded in our database and mapped on our web site at wdvta.org.uk. We also organise walks, public talks and other events of interest to those who love trees, share our concerns for the environment and are aware of the invaluable role that trees play in our lives.
This Report enables us to convey WDVTA's achievements to a wider audience as well as bringing our own members up to date with the results of their combined work. We want to stimulate everybody's interest in Wokingham's trees so they can actively participate in (or at least become aware of) the preservation of Wokingham's natural heritage. In this way we hope people in the community will work with us to respond to the many threats our trees are facing and help us contribute to their welfare and management.
This Report only summarises the results of our town and parish survey, but full descriptions, more photographs and detailed survey results will be found at our online map at http://www.wdvta.org.uk/WDVTS/index.php. Many trees mentioned in this Report are referenced with a Master Record Number (MRN). This is a unique identifier assigned by the survey and can be used to find trees via the map. Please take a look - and if you find your favourite tree is missing please let us know - we always welcome corrections and updates to our records.
Over the past ten years our experience has grown and developments such as better photographic techniques, GPS technology and online mapping have improved the accuracy of the survey. We look forward to the next ten years, helping Wokingham to protect its existing veterans and plant saplings which will become veterans of the future.
We would like to thank our members for their dedication and achievements over the past 10 years and have included a full list of acknowledgements.
We hope you enjoy this Report and will join us in marking this significant anniversary of the WDVTA.
The Anniversary Report Team
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