The climate is changing. We are experiencing hotter weather and more rainfall. In short: the climate is becoming more extreme. The trees of the future must be able to withstand this. In addition, in a more extreme climate, we will need trees more than ever. This is because they help to keep urban areas cool in hotter conditions, and improve air quality. Different situations require different types of trees.
The first positive development that we see is at Rijkswaterstaat (Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management). They have developed a tool that helps us understand the value of our green environment. The TEEB city tool (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) shows which variables in the city have a positive effect on the climate. Of course, this includes the effect of trees. This provides opportunities not just for the spaces around the trees in cities.
Measuring climate resistance
Tests are being carried out in Germany with tree varieties that have the best characteristics for the climate of the future. These tests examine their temperature and drought resistance. Such tests are also conducted at other locations. These include the University of London, where Professor Andrew Hirons has written a book on the effect of temperature on trees and plants. He investigated factors such as the effect of drought on plants and the point at which permanent damage occurs, and developed variables for this. We are able to use this knowledge to value the drought tolerance of a tree variety..
At Volentis, we believe that experts, growers and those involved in production should talk to the end users of their products more often. We should also share more knowledge with architects and urban planners. This means a two-way conversation, since two parties know more than one. This helps us discover the factors to select on when developing trees, as well as which tree varieties are most suitable for a given living environment. That’s why we invite everyone to join the conversation about how we can develop the trees of the future.