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Title: Dictionary for Managing Trees in Urban Environments
Author(s): Danny B Draper and Peter A Richards
Date of Publication: 2009 Publisher: CSIRO
Pages:xii + 210 ISBN: 978 0 643 09607 3
Price: Format:Paperback
Overview:
Target Readership Educator
Presentation/Style
Content
Literature
Originality
Overall

 

 

 

 

 

 

Content: Introduction; How the dictionary works; Dictionary terms; References; Topics within index.

Review: 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.

Here 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.

The 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.

 

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