This independent network was formed in October 2011 as a phoenix organisation when the local authority had to discontinue their support after 18 years because of budget restraints. There are currently 20 wardens, with an immediate priority of expansion to give better coverage and effectiveness across the area.
Perth and Kinross amounts to some 5395km2 at the cross-roads of Scotland, from Loch Leven in the south to the Grampian Mountains watershed with the Spey valley in the north; from Dundee in the east to Loch Earn in the west. It is split by the Highland Boundary fault on a southwest / northeast axis. This magnificent landscape therefore changes from rich arable lowlands to stock-farming and forestry as the land increasingly folds north of the geological fault.
The predominant pattern of trees and woodland was largely established by the 18th century agricultural improvements, and is populated by many grand estates and planned villages as a result. Perth city is the main conurbation and service centre, although there are thriving market towns elsewhere, including Blairgowrie, Aberfeldy, Kinross and Auchterarder. Many urban and rural areas enjoy statutory protection for their nature conservation and architectural or historic value, but trees themselves appear to be little valued and are often ignored in new developments or the planning process, with little understanding of their cultural and biodiversity contributions.
The main challenges for the wardens are to promote renewal of the established landscape pattern and intervene in the planning process on every front, as well as worth with local organisations filling a vital gap where trees are concerned. Events and training days will continue to be held, together with input into practical projects and the preparation of tree trails leaflets, etc.
For more information visit www.perthandkinrosstreewardens.co.uk