Arboriculture is a branch of horticulture involved in cultivating and managing and maintaining trees, shrubs and other woody plants in urban and suburban settings.

Arborists have an important role to play in the context of climate change since it is now established that trees and shrubs are very effective in urban settings dominated by buildings at sequestering carbon and accumulating it in the form of biomass in the soil.

However, haphazardly planting trees or growing vegetation as a carbon sink alone may not be positive action since it does not factor the wider role and impact trees and a green cover plays in the immediate environment.

Trees and shrubs form a natural curtain.

Trees and shrubs form a natural curtain.

According to present-day thinking, planting trees cannot be an unplanned activity to meet green targets. It may lead to more harm being done than good. Planting wrong trees at the wrong place can affect the soil, water flows, biodiversity, and air quality.

Arboriculture also means assessing existing trees and vegetation to ensure protection to the valued in this category. Valuable trees within an urban area cannot be lost. Very often older trees may need careful pruning and tending to. It is essential to involve a qualified arborist while drawing-up plans before implementation.

In India arborists are hard to come by. A few years ago, when the municipal corporation of Mumbai wanted to carry out a Rs 120 crore audit on the city’s trees to see which needed to be trimmed and which cut, it could not find an arborist to advise it. But the situation is changing with qualified experts available to planners to set up green and eco-friendly environments in urban spaces.