AQF Level 5 Arborist Reports
Applications to remove a tree that is claimed to be dead, dying, diseased or dangerous within the Port Macquarie Hastings region are to be supported by a report by an AQF 5 qualified arborist (Port Macquarie Hastings Council link below).
PMHC Tree removal and pruning information
The process for applying for tree works varies from Council to Council and trees of a particular species may be protected within one local government area (LGA) and not in another. Some Councils protect trees once they have reached specific physical dimensions such as height and canopy spread and other Councils protect trees regardless of size. Trees can also be protected due to their environmental contributions e.g. erosion control or to preserve the food source and habitat of endangered and/or native reptiles, amphibians, birds and arboreal marsupials such as ‘Koala Browse species’. The one constant across all Councils is that proposed tree works must be justified from an arboricultural perspective for protected trees.
MNC Trees has worked directly as a part of Port Macquarie Hastings Council’s Tree Management team to assist with the management of their tree assets. This work has provided MNC Trees with an in depth knowledge of the process of applying for tree work and removal at local government level. Our Arborist Reports are produced in an easy to read, legal format and exceed industry benchmark requirements.
These reports are typically produced to determine the safety and longevity of a tree and may accompany an application to council.
1. Tree Hazard Assessment Reports include a specific assessment of potentially hazardous defects of a tree or trees. These reports may contain more information than a standard VTA (Visual Tree Assessment) report.
2. The report includes detail on the specific nature of the defect, its potential for failure and quantifies the value of targets should the tree or tree part fail. Potential defects include; decay, cavities, structural faults and unstable root-plates.
3. Various methodologies may be used to quantify the extent of the defect including; root crown investigation, trunk or limb drilling to carry out strength loss calculations, aerial inspections and tree tissue or soil pathology assessments when fungal pathogens are suspected.
Tree Protection Plans
Established trees of appropriate species and sound structure are beneficial components of the built environment and a potential asset to any development site. MNC Trees works with landscapers, architects and development companies to assist in preserving trees during and after landscaping or construction works to ensure their health and subsequent value is maintained.
A living tree is a dynamic organism that needs specific environmental conditions to continue healthy, stable growth. It is rarely possible to repair stressed and injured trees, so any substantial injury needs to be avoided during all stages of development and construction. Procedures must be in place to protect trees at every stage of the development process.
Most trees will take many years and possibly decades to establish but can be injured or killed in a very short time, as their vulnerability is commonly not well understood. This is especially so in relation to tree root systems which cannot usually be seen. Irreparable injury frequently occurs in the early stages of site occupation and remedial measures routinely fail.
Conflicts between protected trees and proposed developments do occur and can prove to be both frustrating and costly for the developer or homebuilder. Local Government’s approach to development and trees is that wherever possible; protected trees with a high retention value are to be retained. This situation can affect anyone looking to develop a site and includes both commercial developers looking to construct major buildings to private developers looking to build their own home or renovate.
MNC Trees’ highly qualified and experienced staff understand the interrelationship between trees, environmental protection and development planning legislation. This allows MNC Trees to continually achieve optimum results for our valued clients and the best possible long-term outcome for the local amenity/environment whilst complying with relevant legislative requirements.
There are a number of stages in the development and tree management process that commences with site acquisition. The following briefly outlines the arboricultural reporting process
1. The Preliminary Tree Assessment Report
As per 2.3.2 of ‘AS 4970-2009 The Protection of Trees on Development Sites’; the preliminary assessment of the trees takes place at the beginning of the project once any site surveys have been completed. The purpose of the Preliminary Assessment Report is to provide quantitative information on the trees. All trees included in the report are numbered and assessed by the Project Arborist as the basis for deciding which trees are suitable for retention and the most suitable way to develop the site.
2. The Impact Assessment Report
As per 2.3.5 of ‘AS 4970-2009 The Protection of Trees on Development Sites’; the Arboricultural Impact Assessment is prepared once the final development layout is complete. The Impact Assessment Report identifies trees to be removed, retained or transplanted. The report identifies possible impacts on trees to be retained. The report explains design and construction methods to minimize impacts on retained trees where there is encroachment into the calculated TPZ. The report also recommends measures necessary to protect the trees throughout the demolition and construction stages.
A review of architectural, services and landscape plans is included in all reports to provide an accurate impact assessment.
3. Arboricultural Compliance Certificates
Following the final inspection and the completion or any remedial works, the project arborist should certify that the completed works have been carried out in compliance with the approved plans and specifications for tree protection. Certification should include a statement on the condition of the retained trees, details of any deviations from the approved tree protection measures and their impact on trees.
Vegetation Management Plans
Are you a stakeholder or manager of large pockets of vegetation and looking to minimise your maintenance costs and get the best possible results from your investment? Vegetation Management Plans (VMPs) are an essential tool for any property with a large portion of vegetation and high human occupation such as local municipals, golf courses, resorts, caravan parks, schools and universities.
In simple terms, the goal of Vegetation Management Plans is to provide a plan of management for established vegetation at a site, to enhance and expose the full potential of vegetation and minimise long-term expenses and unnecessary retention of poor performing species and emergency call-out costs.
Tree Risk Management Plans
All trees no matter how long lived will eventually succumb to decline and gradually collapse and decompose. Trees die from a myriad of causes however within an urban environment a particularly common cause of tree death is alterations to their surrounding environment e.g. compaction, changes in hydrology etc. Trees, especially mature or over-mature trees are not as resilient as their younger counterparts and are less tolerant of changes within their environment. These mature to over-mature trees are generally physically larger specimens and as such have the potential to cause serious damage to property or injury to people should they fail partially or completely.
Risk management of amenity trees is a well-established concept in the management of public spaces. Our Consulting Arborist formally worked as one of the Tree Protection Officers at Port Macquarie Hastings Council assessing possible risk of council managed trees and establishing above industry standards solutions for their on going management. Whilst risk can never be completely eliminated a successful tree risk management plan can provide a systematic approach to implement corrective actions within a reasonable time frame.
Invested stakeholders have the responsibility to create and maintain a safe environment whether it is the grey (built) or green (urban forest.) In recent years there have been significant advancements in the field of tree hazard assessment. These techniques and procedures can be used to effectively minimise the risk of damage to property and personal injury associated with tree failures. Tree risk management involves the process of inspecting and assessing trees for their potential to cause damage to property or injury to people. A rating system is applied to describe a tree’s potential for failure such as; low to high risk. A time line for works required to reduce or eliminate the risk is then provided. A high-risk situation may require immediate works whilst a low risk situation may require works within the next 12-24 months.