Dictionaries are remarkably difficult to review. They tend to
follow the same structure covering one of more fields of endeavour.
To start reviewing term-by-term is less than satisfactory and
yet there needs to be some way of distinguishing the various
perspectives that each one brings to the market.
one is on firmer ground. Trees are an integral part of the urban
environment and yet they have received little in the way of
special treatment. Sure, there are books on tree management
from topiary to disease control but this is more by way of "trees"
than "urban trees". As we become increasingly urbanised,
and as our requirements for "safe" environments continues
trees occupy a central ground. They provide part of the soft
landscaping for urban systems and have undoubted value for both
aesthetics and ecosystem services (especially in terms of, say,
modification of urban heat islands). Having said this there
are few courses dealing exclusively with these plants. Part
of the problem stems from the lack of a coherent language around
which to base a professional discussion of urban trees. One
way of dealing with such an issue is to create a set of technical
terms - an urban tree "language" if you will - that
allows professionals and others to discuss matters confident
that they are all referring to the same concept. Essentially,
what this dictionary represents is a first attempt at the creation
of an acceptable set of terms. The authors are part of a wider
group of aboriculturists trying to set standards for terms,
concepts and operations that will codify their practice and
make it possible to move their discipline forward. As we have
seen all too often in ecology and its sub-disciplines, it is
the creation of terminology that allows specialisation and the
development of the subject in its own right. It is this move
that makes this dictionary more original than most.
terms themselves range from the common to the most technical.
Unusually for a technical publication, terms lack the usual
technical complexity/jargon and could easily be used by students
and others interested in urban trees. The terms seek to enlighten
rather than mystify. A bonus is that being of Australian origin
it covers many of the ideas of trees as archaeology seeking
to show how indigenous cultures have impacted upon tree development.
Given that trees are a key urban element and are so easily used
in ecological and environmental education, this dictionary is
an excellent way of promoting interest in trees and tree management.
Professionals in this field will also find the publication invaluable
as a technical reference to terminology.