Book review: Urban Tree Management (Roloff, 2016)

There is a growing source of literature available, almost at one’s very fingertips, detailing the ever-expanding knowledge we have of urban trees. Usually, these books will focus on a specific aspect of (by-and-large) urban trees, such as David Lonsdale’s Principles of Tree Hazard Assessment and Management, Ed Gilman’s An Illustrated Guide to Pruning, James Urban’s Up by Roots, John Dover’s Green Infrastructure, and Watson & Himelick’s The Practical Science of Planting Trees. However, books that draw in information (at times, courtesy of numerous contributors) on many aspects of urban tree management do also exist (and there are certainly a few), and I would probably champion this book as one of the very best out there at this moment in time. The chapters on urban trees and drought stresses (chapter 5), urban tree genetics (chapter 16), the governance of urban trees (chapter 17), and how to construct an effective urban tree education program (chapter 20), were perhaps the most interesting for me, though I cold not say that any chapter in this book was out-of-place or not of use. I certainly see future referrals to this book, when it comes to considering discussion topics and writing essays, being very common. Similarly, I am certain that it’ll become a very well-used book for students who are studying urban tree management / urban forestry. Its scope really is that vast.

In terms of knowledge gained from the book, I’d probably say there’s so much I have learned, considered, and entertained, that I don’t know where to begin. I found myself re-reading a few sub-chapters, just to re-affirm and re-absorb what I had just read (not wanting to miss out on any vital slice of the knowledge pie). At times, what was being presented in the book was what I already knew, and I don’t doubt that others who immerse themselves in literature and seek to learn every day will experience the same feeling when they read the book, though this exact sensation was largely limited to isolated sections. Often, I may have been reading something I already had recognised, considered, and partly understood, though not in the angle it was being presented; or, I had not even not considered it at all. The wide range of authors of the chapters (there must be at least 15) probably helped in this regard, as it didn’t limit the book to the knowledge of just one or two individuals. Perhaps this also kept the book feeling ‘fresh’.

Urban Tree Management book
The book in all its glory.

This book balances the use of text and the inclusion of tables and figures very well, and in many instances one can find that the text is actually very much simplified by an included table alongside. The images used are large enough to be able to see what is going on within them, and the book being printed in colour certainly aided with that. The book was also very well proof-read, though I did notice a short segment of German within one of the chapters. Obviously, the author of that chapter had written some notes in his first language, and not removed them prior to the book being printed. Beyond that however, there really is hardly anything that cannot be understood (and in many instances sentences are composed in a way that even a layperson could understand), or appears out-of-place (gramatically). The sub-chapters are also nice and digestible, with no feeling of being over-burdened by information or ‘walls of text’.

At a bit of a tangent, I am pleased that the Germans actually wrote a book in English. Browsing through the references to this book, I grew quite envious of the plethora of books listed that were all written in the German language (of which I cannot speak). Evidently, there is a significant amount of material written by German academics and industry professionals that has never reached a wider audience, and like The CODIT Principle, which was translated from German and published by the ISA last year, I’d be keen to see other publications translated, too. They know their stuff, that’s for certain! In the meantime, the fact that this book drew material from these German publications is good, as it gives these books an indirect form of accessibility to a far wider audience.

You can buy the book here, if you so desire. Considering the information within, it’s a small price to pay.

Book review: Urban Tree Management (Roloff, 2016)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s