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The Who, What And Why, When it Comes to an Arborist Report

Updated: Jan 18

Trees are an incredible asset. This can be true in a monetary sense, as they have the potential to inspire wonder and boost the quality of life in an urban environment, typically leading to higher property value. Beyond this though, healthy trees typically signal a healthy environment, providing shade and wind protection for ourselves, as well as habitat for a vast array of different wildlife species. Often they can have heritage significance, as they tie our properties to different eras in the past. Their value is certainly not to be underestimated. Having said that, trees also have the possibility to become significant liabilities. As well as creating risk to humans themselves they can also create unacceptable risk to homes, buildings and other infrastructure. Due to both the asset and liability potential of trees, an arborist report plays an important role in responsibly managing trees, either on your own property or in the broader community.

Why might you need an arborist report?

Seeing as you are reading this there is a good chance that you are considering removing a tree, or trees, on your property. It is a legal offence to remove or prune trees without a permit or development consent. Legislation, such as Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and Local Environment Plans (LEPs), ensure that trees are handled responsibly, as the valuable assets they are. Failure to abide by these laws can lead to substantial fines, upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars and even criminal conviction. So, if you are planning on removing any trees from your property then ensure that you inform your local council and provide the necessary arborist report before firing up a chainsaw.

Who can provide an arborist report?

Not all arborists are qualified to put together an arborist report. As an arborist report stands as a legal document that can hold up in court, it is important that you are aware of the specific guidelines of your individual council. In most cases, the arborist compiling your report will need to possess a minimum AQF (Australian Qualification Framework) Level 5 Arborist Qualification. An arborist with these qualifications will not only be well versed in all things arboreal, they will also be across all the various legal requirements, which not only ensures that you are acting within the best interests of the trees on your property, it also ensures that you are working within the constraints of the law. As an added bonus, an experienced arborist can often navigate this process swiftly for you, helping to ensure that the projects or maintenance on your property runs smoothly.

What is included in an arborist report?

Arborist reports are detailed documents that provide an overview of the aims of the report and the location and site specifics relating to the tree or trees in question. A table for each tree assessed will include the species name, height, trunk diameter, and canopy spread, health condition and estimated useful life expectancy, as well as the significance of the tree in the landscape. Suggestions are one of the most important aspects of the report as the local council will rely on the options set forth in the report to decide what actions will be allowed in relation to the trees.

The environmental and financial risks associated with the removal of trees means that an arborist report plays an important role in the responsible management of trees. For your own safety and the well being of your property and assets, speak to an experienced arborist to have them advise on what is best for the trees on your property and lean on their expertise to help you navigate the various council processes required.

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