Amenity Conference

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The 51st AA National Amenity Conference 2017

Exeter University, 10–13 September 2017


First international conference on Arboricultural Biosecurity


This year the overall focus is biosecurity – a subject with varied threads and, increasingly, of much concern to the industry and to the population at large.

To assist us in addressing this broad and complex area we are working in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) for the middle day of our three-day conference. This will bring in expert speakers with a wider perspective than just the arboricultural view, as well as delegates from the ecology sector with new challenges, ideas and innovative solutions: a chance for delegates to network, compare notes and establish new contacts and business streams.

We already have several international speakers confirmed as well as key national figures to identify the issues we are dealing with, those we anticipate and the plans to address them. As well as tree pests and diseases the wider issues of managing tree health in the urban environment will be discussed and we will learn how the government is stepping up to these challenging pressures. Managing our existing rich ecological landscape is also key to our success: the ability of trees to survive the external threats which will surely arrive, sooner or later, will depend upon high levels of vitality and interdependence with soil ecology, invertebrates and protected species that make up the whole ecology of the urban forest.

Venue

This year we are returning to Exeter where we have had some of our most memorable AA conferences. Since we were last hosted at Exeter, in the Peter Chalk Centre, there has been a massive development of the university’s new flagship ‘Forum and Alumni Auditorium’. This new development will be the venue for this year’s AA Conference, comprising a large atrium (‘The Street’), complete with retail outlets and access to the University Library. This will be the home to our Trade Exhibition and refreshments and lunches will be served here. The Street leads directly to the Alumni Auditorium, a state-of-the-art lecture theatre with access from ground and first floor levels, excellent acoustics and technical facilities, over 400 luxurious seats, each with swivel facilities and individual wi-fi outlets.

This fantastic venue is just a stone’s throw from our previous Peter Chalk Centre venue and immediately adjacent to the Great Hall, where the Tuesday Gala Dinner will be held, and just a short walk from the residential accommodation in Holland Hall, with its comfortable en suite rooms including a double bed, tea and coffee making facilities and the restaurant, bar and terrace with wonderful views out over the Devon countryside.

Subjects will include:

  • Tree health
  • Biosecurity
  • Tree species selection
  • Population resilience and management
  • Pests and diseases
  • Ecological/arboricultural impact assessments
  • Trees and development
  • Surveying techniques and methodologies
  • Bats and trees/woodlands
  • Protected species and arboriculture
  • Biodiversity
  • Veteran trees
  • Soil ecology
  • Ecosystem services evaluation
  • Biomechanics
  • Tree risk management

A call for papers, which formally closed on 28 February, has brought in a wealth of offers from all over the world and the steering group will be examining and assessing the proposed abstracts received.

Please keep an eye on our website for further information on specific speakers, session chairs and key note addresses over the coming weeks and months. We will be sending out updates and promotional bulletins over the summer and our sector partner organisation will be sharing this information with its membership and circulating to the wider population.

Tree Climbing Competition (TCC) under ISA rules – 9-10 September

Hosted by the AA at its annual conference for the first time, this weekend event attracts the UK’s finest tree climbers to compete in a wide range of set activities, culminating in the ‘Masters’ Challenge’ on Sunday 10th, drawing crowds from the climbing fraternity and conference delegates. The winners of the TCC will be able to go to the 2018 European TCC and to the World Tree Climbing Competition, held in the USA.

Sunday Field Trip

As with every Amenity Conference there will also be a Sunday Field Trip to give an informative start the Conference. Details for this will follow, keep your eyes peeled!

Our joint hosts on the Tuesday sessions will be:

Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management