Science Target Conference Systems, Ajman 4th International Environment Conference 2016

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Green Infrastructure: Assessment of Tree Damage to Urban Structures
Mikals Scholz

Last modified: 2015-10-04


This keynote speech paper highlights the importance of green infrastructure. The remediation of contaminated land is a great challenge to create suitable development areas for green buildings located within a network of greenspaces. The smart use of water and soil can support ecologically significant land dominated by higher plants such as trees, creating a high quality urban environment. However, a smart selection of trees is required to avoid challenges such as damages buildings. This article assesses the damage caused by urban tree roots in relation to tree characteristics. Tree damage to permeable pavement systems and other urban structures such as impermeable pavements, kerbs, roads, retaining walls, footpaths, walls and buildings were assessed to identify the most suitable trees for the urban environment from an engineering perspective. Hundred square sites of 100 m × 100 m were randomly selected in Greater Manchester for this representative example case study to demonstrate the assessment methodology. Results show that 44% of the damage was to impermeable pavements and 22% to permeable pavements. Other damage to structures included kerbs (19%), retaining walls (5%), footpaths (4%), roads (3%) and walls (3%). Concerning the severity of damage, 66% were moderate, 21% light and 19% severe. Among tree species occurrence, Norway Maple occurred most frequently (17%); others were Lime (16%), Common Ash (12%) and Sycamore (10%). Horse Chestnut (59%) caused the greatest damage. This tree was followed by others including Large-leaved Lime (53%), Norway Maple (52%), Common Ash (45%), Sycamore (42%) and Small-leaved Lime (35%).