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Public consultation on the Individual Tree Data Standard

This page summarises the public consultation of the draft Individual Tree Data Standard. The draft standard was put out for two rounds of public consultation between November 2019 and February 2020. The consultation documents are available to download from the Documents section on this page.

Research objectives

The aims of the public consultation were:

  • To develop the standard in collaboration with all potential users
  • To ensure the standard was usable and fit for purpose
  • To enable users to implement the standard with a minimum amount of additional work
  • To provide the rationale for each of the data variables chosen

Findings and Recommendations

70 individuals and organisations responded to the first round of consultation, with representation from across the sector and all four nations of the UK.

Key themes emerged from the consultation:

  • The standard provides a common language for individual tree description. It defines the format in which the data should be stored.
  • The standard needs to provide a clear explanation of each variable and why it has been selected.
  • The standard should align with BS5837 where possible.
  • Surveyors should be encouraged to measure trees where possible, rather than estimate values.
  • Remove the option to use ranges and allow surveyors to estimate variables if it is not possible to measure directly.
  • Not every variable needs to be collected in all use cases. 5 variables are included in the ‘minimum’ data that should be collected by all, the remainder are optional with some being ‘highly recommended’.
  • The standard is designed for all users, not only for citizen science activities.

The responses were taken into account and several adjustments were made to the draft standard. A second round of public consultation ran from xxx to xxx.

The aims of the second round of consultation were:

  • To demonstrate how the recommended adjustments had been implemented in the standard
  • To give stakeholders a chance to respond to the changes

18 individuals and organisations responded, representing arboricultural consultants, environmental planners, local authority tree officers and managers, botanic gardens, researchers, and non-governmental organisations.

The responses were largely positive, with 70% of the responses requiring no change to the data fields.

Key themes emerged from the consultation and were integrated into the draft standard:

  • A flexible approach is required to enable organisations to meet the standard using their existing tools and recording systems
  • Data fields require careful description or explanation
  • Life stages of the tree to be reviewed
  • Structural and biological condition of the tree should be treated separately
  • Match the data standard to existing data collection protocols
  • Some users would not collect the recommended and highly recommended data in their regular surveys

Each data field in the standard was reviewed in light of the responses to the first and second public consultation. The resulting draft standard will be issued for review by independent experts and the final standard will be published in 2021.


Phillip Handley