FindItMore | Landscape character assessment and tree survey hold great significance to any property development. Not only that they can define the direction of the development, but they can influence whether it is going to be any. There are specifics for every place, every landscape that make them unique. Here we look at both landscape character assessment and tree survey, and what they mean to a development project.
They can be made for both public and private property. Regardless of the nature of the property, both methodologies remains same. However, the purpose often may be different and for a different audience.
Landscape character assessment (LCA)
LCA is about assessing almost every part of a given landscape: land use, scenic characteristics, cultural history, hydrology, soil, geology, and so on.
The LCA analyzes each of the mentioned components when undergoing change. A typical assessment has an evaluative and descriptive component. Both components follow a state guide in which there are detailed instructions explaining the entire process.
LCA features three main elements:
- Settlement (the way towns, villages and farmsteads are set out)
- Land Cover (it explores and analyses the dominant type of the land. E.g. farmland, woodland, lochs).
- Land-form (land formations such as glens, straths, and hills. E.g. whether hills are angular or rounded)
How LCA is done?
- Define the area which will be covered and the purpose of the LCA. Also, the available resources for an LCA of that size.
- Make a desk study – gather and analyze all available data and documentation related to the area and all the stakeholders that have a connection to the landscape.
- Do a field study – take what you learn from the desk study and compare it with what you find on the field.
- Map out and classify everything you discover, including geographical, social, cultural, historical and other types of influences.
- Using an old LCA is not recommended even if there are some available for that particular area or property. Instead, it is for the best to update it with new data or create a completely new from the scratch.
A Tree Survey is conducted in order to provide the owner of the property with useful information about the trees there. That way the owner or the manager of the property can make better decisions regarding the development of the property while keeping in mind the trees on it.
The tree survey is done by a professional arborist and will provide information about every single tree. The arborist will mark every tree and give recommendations based on the British Standard BS5837. That way the owner can know which trees can be removed and which need to be retained.
The tree survey is like a diary for each tree that contains:
- Diameter and height of the tree
- The exact species of the three along with its scientific name
- An estimated life expectancy
- How old the three is
- How to manage it (recommendation whether should be removed or kept)
- Life expectancy
- The general health condition of the tree
In some regions, a tree survey is obligatory by law. The idea is to make sure certain trees are not cut down by accident.
The importance of tree survey and landscape character assessment
Both the survey for the trees and the LCA can increase the value of the property in its own right as a number of subjects can benefit from it.
First of all, let’s assume the property is for sale. They can add value to the property by showing natural elements and specific trees that have a value of their own. A value that adds up to the previously given assessment. It also shows that the owner truly cares about the property and is aware of everything on it.
The landscape designer will also greatly benefit from a LCA and a tree survey. Based on what’s in them, the landscape designer can create drafts that incorporate the natural surroundings, work around the trees that cannot be removed by law, and cut some to increase the appeal and overall worth of the property.
Hiring an expert to get the job done
For both papers, you will need the services of two types of experts: a landscape character assessment (LCA) consultant and an arboriculturalist for the tree survey.
Their expertise, along with the guidelines provided by the state will determine the quality of the survey and the assessment. To this end, it is important to hire someone with sufficient expertise and knowledge to complete the job.