Perth and Kinross Tree Warden Network is one of about 200 networks of volunteers across Britain, the whole idea having been started by The Tree Council in 1990 as a response to the huge loss of historic landscapes and trees following a series of severe gales. Our local scheme started in 1993, run by the local authority; but since April 2011 the Network has been entirely run by volunteers within the national scheme. It is supported by The Forestry Commission Scotland and Tayside Biodiversity Partnership, retaining links with the local authority.
Tree wardens are the eyes and ears of the community regarding trees and woodlands. They receive regular professional training so that they can identify individual species and understand their habitat requirements and problems, as well as understand the law as it affects trees in both town and country. They monitor the loss of trees and promote their replacement with the owners. Wardens also keep an eye on felling and report it to the local authority or the Forestry Commission for action by them. Importantly, they comment on planning applications regarding trees and contribute to government consultations on issues affecting trees. On the proactive side, wardens learn to survey trees and promote planting or management schemes. Currently, they are also preparing a series of leaflets, the first of which is the Perth & Kinross Bluebell Trail. This will be published next spring and give details of both bluebell woods that are easily accessible to walk in, as well as drives that pass bluebell woods that do not have car parking nearby or are not easily accessible to the public.
Tree wardens act as they do out of a sincere belief that trees are an essential part of our natural and cultural heritage: trees significantly reduce carbon emissions, and they provide an essential component in securing biodiversity upon which we all depend for our well-being.