Whilst trees have a strong presence within the psyche of the average Briton, the evidence on the whole is that trees and woodland in particular are considered in negative terms. There is a very strange and almost impossible to quantify paradox in the average persons relationship with trees. A natural woodland setting continues to be the backdrop of scary stories and films, however tree lined avenues and green spaces are always seen to be positive additions in our surroundings in both urban and rural settings. Sales of trees are and have been on the increase and many 'new' landowners are planting woodland and orchards in huge numbers.
As I wrote on the CSl blog 'the value of trees
', the real value of a tree has yet to be quantified properly, (although the CAVAT
system is close) and until it is done so, there will remain an attitude towards trees that belittles their existence to such an extent that they are habitually mistreated, mismanaged and often damaged without recourse or regret.
One of the principal offenders are developers and the construction industry, whose operations are often a thorn in the side of landscapers, (through leaving debris in the ground, destroying soil systems etc.,) yet without this industry the landscaping industry would have little work. Both in larger developments down to small work and even DIY results in trees being damaged to serious extents with little care. And often this damage can be further elaborated on as an excuse to remove a tree, which are habitually regarded as a risk to any construction and thus removal allows for ease in insuring both property and operations.
Not so in France - the risk of a very hefty fine from damaging a tree has resulted in some quite elaborate systems to ensure trees are protected against possible damage.
The onus is clearly on construction and development companies, who will often have an in house team to ensure the protection of trees and the garden / woodland landscape as a whole. These teams enjoy a higher status within the whole industry. Whilst they are often viewed by the developer in the same way the British do with Health and Safety experts with a grimace whenever they appear the result is that the average French person can enjoy a continuation of tree lined avenues, woodland and parkland without any risk of depleting numbers of trees.