Trees are vitally important to the Earth and the human race. They offer environmental benefits as well as offering habitats for wildlife and fauna. They are an essential part of the natural landscape as they help the prevention of land erosion and aid natural eco-systems and weather conditions. They also reduce carbon dioxide in the air.
Arboriculture involves all aspects of the growing, production and maintenance of trees in the landscape, as well as enabling people and trees to co-exist in the same environment. Trees are important wherever you live, whether in a city or the countryside, both from an aesthetic and an environmental point of view. Amenity trees, as opposed to those cultivated for their timber value, are all over Britain and the world and these are the trees that arboriculturalists tend to. Aspects of the job may include tree surgery, planting trees, design and implementing landscaping schemes using trees and offering advice to other industries such as agriculture and horticulture.
Concern for the preservation of trees in both the urban and rural environment has generated an increasing demand for skilled arboriculturalists. High-profile environmental issues such as the future of the tropical rainforests and increasing environmental sustainability have meant that the public awareness of the necessity and value of trees has been increased. As a result there are now a number of opportunities to gain an Apprenticeship or study for vocationally-based qualifications across the UK.
Example areas of study
Most of the courses in arboriculture are HNDs and Foundation Degrees and they have a strong vocational focus, rather than just an academic one. There are also a handful of degree-level courses in the subject. The modules are quite varied so it is worth checking that the course covers the subjects you are interested in with the institutions themselves, before you submit your application. The list below will give you an idea of the subjects you may study.
- Plant biology
- Soil management
- Arboricultural management
- Amenity trees
- Machinery management
- History and taxonomy
- Tree production and selection
- Amenity woodland management
- Business management
- Tree pathology
- Urban tree management
- Conservation management
- Silvicultural principles
- Woodland and landscape design
- Crop protection
- Nursery practice
- Harvesting and extraction
- Environmental ecology
- Tree surveys and inspection
- Pathology and entomology
- Plant biotechnology
- Tree identification
- Tree surgery
- Tree law
- Tree pests and diseases
- Urban forestry
Some career possibilities
Arboriculturalists are in great demand as interest in the importance of the environment continues to grow. Opportunities for qualified arboriculturalists may include management or supervisory roles in the tree surgery and arboricultural industries, consultancy or research. Local councils, national parks and large country estates also employ qualified arboriculturalists so opportunities may also be available here.
What do I need to get on a course?
The entry requirements for courses in arboriculture tend to vary from institution to institution so it is best to check with them before you send off you application. A general guide to the qualifications and grades that you may require is listed below:
- UCAS Tariff: 80-140 points
- A-level: C-CD
- SQA Higher: C-CCC
- Irish Leaving Certificates: CCC
- BTEC National Diploma: MMM in a related subject
- NVQ: Level 3 in a relevant subject
- NCEA qualification
- HNC/D: relevant subject
- Work experience may be an advantage in some cases
For your application or interview, the following may be useful:
A strong interest in working outdoors and the environment is a must
To find out more about the typical subjects you will study, potential career paths and further information useful for your application log-on to Course Discover at www.coursediscoveronline.co.uk*
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