Time and the Heritage Value of Trees
The 2008 book, Heritage Tree of Alberta, lists 28 trees within the City of Edmonton. While I believe that this list represents a cross-section of the City’s total number of heritage trees, I think that we can draw a few lessons from its pages. Generally, three things come together to make a heritage tree; time, novelty, and narrative. In the first of three posts, I will explore the relationship between heritage trees and time.
Mature Trees Are Cultural Artifacts
You can’t plant old trees, but you can plant and nurture young ones. Mature urban trees are the result of continuous care at best and benign neglect at worst. Development, overzealous home-owners, changes to drainage patterns, pests, extreme weather, climate change, diseases, or disruption to the root zone can all result in the premature death of an urban tree, so it’s no wonder that mature trees are uncommon. This fact alone makes mature trees rare enough to give heritage status.