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A short story for Arboreal

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Arboreal
Arboreal

Arboreal: a collection of words from the woods. Little Toller Books.

I’ve written a short fictional story which has been selected for inclusion in Arboreal: a collection of words from the woods to be published by Little Toller Books in October.

Bringing together the finest, and best-known, names in contemporary writing, the new anthology explores the many strands of what woodlands mean to us. A landmark publication, it will appeal widely to many readers.

I wanted to create a different slant on the brief, provided by editor Adrian Cooper, to write about a woodland that means something special to me. My story is set in the future, and looks back to the past. My contribution is titled: Don’t look back – Piles Copse, Dartmoor Forest.

More information (and a preorder form) is available on the Little Toller website

London to Paris: a send-off by the new Mayor of London

May 27, 2016

Gabriel Hemery

Fund4Trees

Some of the intrepid Fund4Trees London to Paris cycling team received a fantastic early send-off by recently appointed Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, last night. The ride proper starts on the morning of Saturday 28th May. The final destination is the 99th French Mayor’s conference in Paris on Tuesday.

The riders posed with Sadiq Khan on the Wandering Tree mural, part of the Charter for trees, woods and people campaign led by Woodland Trust. We are grateful to Craig Harrison, Forestry Commission, for helping organise the send-off, and to Matt Larsen-Daw for the photographs.


Trustees of Fund4Trees will be cycling 285 miles, from London to Paris, to promote our charitable work. The trustees will be joined by representatives of national tree professional bodies. The goal is to deliver a French translation of Trees and Design Action Group’s (TDAG) latest document Trees in Hard Landscapes, which Fund4Trees supported. The ride…

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Arboriculturists can now give a little back

May 21, 2016

Gabriel Hemery

Fund4Trees cycle jersey
Fund4Trees cycle jersey

Fund4Trees cycle jersey

I’m proud to be a founding trustee of charity Fund4Trees. Its work supports urban tree research and the dissemination of arboricultural best-practice.

At the end of May the trustees of Fund4Trees will be cycling over 200 miles, from London to Paris, to promote the charity’s work. It’s a daunting personal challenge but one I’m looking forward to. Seeing a ‘proper’ cycling jersey was in production finally spurred me into action; I realised my fellow trustees were taking this seriously! Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to fit in training rides totalling up to 100 miles a week around a busy work schedule, with an occasional 50-80 mile ride thrown in for good measure during weekends. I’ve discovered so many new country lanes and stunning views (and steep hills) in the Chilterns.

The ride is not a fundraising activity in itself but we are undertaking the challenge to raise the profile of two regular giving schemes aimed at professional arboriculturists. The schemes are Donate1Job and Donate1Hour. If you work in the industry, please do take a look at these. A regular small donation could make a real difference to our charitable work.

On the ride the trustees will be joined by representatives of national tree professional bodies. We will deliver a French translation of Tree Design Action Group’s (TDAG) latest document Trees in Hard Landscapes: A Guide for Delivery to the 99th French Mayors Congress on 31st May. The translation into French was commissioned from TDAG by Val’hor because the organisation was so impressed by the document, which illustrates best practice techniques in regard to trees and the installation of urban infrastructure projects within France and the UK.

I plan to post some pictures and further news about the ride once my legs recover. You can read more about the ride on the Fund4Trees blog.

 

Tree photos framed in ash

May 7, 2016

Gabriel Hemery

I was delighted to see two of my tree photographs chosen by Chris Boreham Bespoke Woodwork to showcase two of his beautiful picture frames for a forthcoming exhibition.

Boreham_framesMade from locally-sourced sustainable timber, the ash frames feature two square pegs at each corner made from black walnut.

Chris chose two images – ‘Winter Solstice Treescape’ and ‘Lime Avenue Sunset’ – from my exhibition, which is entitled Wittenham Treescapes. See more at: www.thetreephotographer.com

Chris Boreham Bespoke Woodwork and The Tree Photographer will be exhibiting at the Sylva Foundation Wood Centre during Oxfordshire Artweeks 2016. Open every day from 14-22 (except 18th when the venue is closed for schools). Why not come along if you’re local: entry is free and there will be lots to see from an amazing variety of talented craftspeople.

Wittenham Treescapes photography exhibition

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6-GabrielHemery_small
6-GabrielHemery_small

Lime avenue between the Wittenhams. An image from my upcoming photography exhibition.

I’m looking forward to my next photography exhibition in May. It is entitled Wittenham Treescapes and features a series of images taken over a five year period within a one mile radius of the villages of Long and Little Wittenham in South Oxfordshire.

The exhibition is hosted at the Sylva Wood Centre (OX14 4QT) during Oxfordshire ArtWeeks. It is open to the public between 14-22 (exc 17) May 2016. There will be a collection of other artists also exhibiting fine art and beautiful craft in wood, so there will be a lot to see.

Read more on my online ArtWeeks gallery.

A selection of my photographs will be available to purchase, and I will be there myself on both weekends.

Resilience requires Awareness and Courage

December 21, 2015

Gabriel Hemery

Over the last few months I’ve been working with colleagues from across the forestry sector on a major report presenting data from a survey about awareness, activities and aspirations to environmental change among woodland owners and managers, and forestry professionals.

The report demonstrates that private forestry holds the balance of power in meeting the challenges of environmental change. Woodland managers will need courage to make forward-looking decisions to ensure our woodlands can thrive in future. Nine out of ten woodland managers have experienced environmental change in recent years, yet less than half believe the UK’s forests will be affected in future.

bws2015-report-cover

At the historic COP21 climate talks in Paris the world came together and agreed to reduce the effects of climate change. Our woodlands and the products they produce play a significant role in the balance of greenhouse gases, for example by storing carbon, while also providing many benefits for people and wildlife. However, unless our woodlands are able to adapt to environmental change — which includes not only surviving in a warming climate, but also coping with threats from pests and diseases, fire and flooding — then none of these benefits will arise.

Our trees and woodlands need to be resilient or be able to ‘bounce back better’ in the face of threats from environmental change. Fortunately we have a forestry standard for the UK (the UKFS) that is recognised globally as exemplary. This includes 18 key guidelines that aim to ensure that our woodlands are able to adapt to environmental change. If woodlands are managed according to these guidelines then we could have some confidence that UK forestry is well-prepared for environmental change. Examples might include anticipating a warmer climate by choosing the best species to plant for future conditions, or by taking actions to limit the spread of pests and diseases. But are woodland owners and managers aware of their vital role in helping the UK respond to environmental change?

The report shows that whilst there were some positive indicators of progress in the forestry sector, evidently current pest and disease outbreaks are dominating the resilience agenda, with less thought given to the longer term effects of environmental change. I believe that woodland owners and managers may not be aware of the magnitude of change that is predicted.

It is clear that some brave decisions will need to be made by individual woodland owners and managers, as well as the forestry sector as a whole, if our woodlands are to thrive long into the future. We must accept that certain risks are inevitable. Making decisions based on best available evidence, rather than assuming no change to engrained practices and the current state-of-play, will be more prudent and less risky in the long term.

Read more about the report (also a link to download the full report)


Hemery, G, G Petrokofsky, B Ambrose-Oji, G Atkinson, M Broadmeadow, D Edwards, C Harrison, et al. 2015. Awareness, Action and Aspiration among Britain’s Forestry Community Relating to Environmental Change: Report of the British Woodlands Survey 2015. 32pp. Sylva Foundation. www.sylva.org.uk/forestryhorizons/bws2015.

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