Protecting trees: how we use the data

Kylie Harrison Mellor, 11/12/2018

The Ancient Tree Inventory (ATI) is a living database of ancient, veteran and notable trees. The data tells us so much about the state of the UK's oldest and most important trees. We’ve used the data to uncover valuable landscapes. Plus we use the data to protect our vulnerable trees.

When you add a tree to the inventory you're adding to a database of more than 170,000 records. Once the data has been verified by one of our expert volunteers it’s the evidence we need to protect trees.

The Campaigning Team

Our Campaigning Team use the information from the ATI to check if ancient and veteran trees will be impacted by development. This might be trees which may be felled or root protection areas being affected.

It’s not just our team in the office. The volunteer network of Threat Detectors use the ATI to check if ancient or veteran trees will be affected.

When ancient or veteran trees come under threat the ATI provides the evidence which we need to object to any planned works. Our objections will include information from the ATI including the tree number so that it can link directly to the record.

The Grantham Oak was under threat from damage to roots, but was helped by the Campaigning Team. (Photo: Jack Taylor)

If you see an ancient or veteran tree under threat let the Woodland Trust. (Photo: Sally Ann Smurthwaite)

It’s not just us using it

The ATI is the only database of its kind in the UK; it’s a trusted resource for planners and developers to check if important trees will be affected.

Natural England recognise the value of the ATI. Their standing advice for veteran trees recommends the ATI as a resource to decide if development will affect these trees.

Evidence for campaigns

There are some big campaigns coming up which we’ll need evidence for if we’re to properly protect ancient and veteran trees.

Our HS2 campaign is our biggest ever threat case with more than 24,000 responses. HS2 phase 2b runs from Crewe to Manchester and West Midlands to Leeds. We’ll need to know where the ancient and veteran trees are along the route. If we know where they are we can try to protect them.

Other threat cases include the Oxford to Cambridge expressway, otherwise known as the Oxcam expressway. We’ll need to be certain trees are recorded and the records are up to date in this area so that we can protect them.

How you can help

You can help by recording trees and updating the records in your area. Even adding photos to records helps to enhance the data.

By adding to the ATI you’re adding to the evidence we have to save ancient and veteran trees.

You don’t have to be in one of the areas above. Where ever you are in the UK by adding the ATI you're helping to build our knowledge and evidence.

Spotted an old tree?

Spotted an old tree?

Help us put ancient trees on the map.

Add to the Ancient Tree Inventory and you'll be helping us celebrate and protect our most important trees.

Add a tree