'Climate Change and Trees' Conference

'Climate Change and Trees' Conference

'Climate Change and Trees' Conference

Hester MacDonald reports on this recent conference held in HEPIA (Haute école de Paysage, Ingénierie et Architecture) in Geneva.

The Swiss branch of the French organisation Plante et Cité recently hosted this event on the subject of Trees and Climate Change.

Defining 'Mediterranean Climate'

The day opened with a thought-provoking presentation from Olivier Duding, climatologist for Météo Suisse. He began by exploring definitions of a “Mediterranean climate” and explained that this can be defined by how much it rains over the year, the average minimum and maximum temperatures, or summer droughts.

Growers & Urban Planners

All of these elements are of interest to growers, producers and urban planners, with the concomitant issues of hydric stress, reduced planting periods and increased requirements for watering.

Switzerland has seen an increase in average temperatures more than double the world average, and increase in “summer days” with temperatures above 25 degrees C from 50 days in 1860 to 80 days in 2019.

Rainwater Management

There was also an increase in very heavy rain days, which has an impact on urban planning and rainwater management, as well as for nurseries and landscape architects to choose trees and plants that can cope with regular root flooding.

Planting for the Future

The message of the day was that Switzerland, far from being immune to the effects of climate change, is in fact, suffering significantly. The future is far from certain, but growers, planners and landscapers all have a part to play in allaying the effects and planting for the future.

For information or further resources, go to www.plante-et-cite.fr or www.plante-et-cite.ch