Question
Asked 6th Jan, 2019

Does your country/region/locality has laws for the protection of veteran/ancient/habitat trees?

I'm interested in compiling information regarding laws at national/regional/local level of different countries regarding the protection of ancient/veteran/habitat trees.
Laws regarding monumental or big trees are also interesting but the main goal is to have examples of laws that promote the protection of trees not only based on the size, cultural or historical value but also on their ecological value.
I'm interested in promoting this kind of conservation in Portugal but I'm lacking examples from other regions.
Thank you all in advance for the help.

Most recent answer

13th Nov, 2021
W.V. Tharindu Amarasinghe
State Timber Corporation
João Gonçalo Soutinho In Sri Lanka, "Antiquities Ordinance", PART IIIANCIENT MONUMENTS specifies the declaration of specified trees as ancient monuments. It says "any tree, whether growing in State land or any other land, is of such historical or archaeological importance, that it is necessary in order to secure the preservation or protection of such tree.

All Answers (44)

7th Jan, 2019
Vincent Raphael Nyirenda
The Copperbelt University, Kitwe, Zambia
In Zambia, several laws exist for the conservation of trees, ecosystems and biological diversity. For instance, Zambia Forest Act No. 4 of 2015; Zambia Wildlife Act no. of 14 of 2015...
7th Jan, 2019
Jon morant etxebarria
Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche
In spain also, several laws exist to protect and enhance the social, cultural and natural value os these trees. For instance in my study area (basque country, spain) this is the law which nominate and protect those tree with named importance;
DECRETO 23/1997, de 11 de febrero, por el que se realiza una segunda declaración de árboles singulares en la Comunidad Autónoma del País Vasco.
Of course, each of comunities of spain have their own laws (with slight ariations) which in turn are regulated by spanish goverment royal decree whose purpose is to protect "singular trees" in the whole peninsular terriory.
Best regards
Jon
7th Jan, 2019
Andrew Paul McKenzie Pegman
University of Auckland
In New Zealand, all trees in regional and national parks are protected
7th Jan, 2019
João Gonçalo Soutinho
CIBIO Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
Vincent Raphael Nyirenda and Jon morant etxebarria thank you for the information!
7th Jan, 2019
João Gonçalo Soutinho
CIBIO Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
Andrew Paul McKenzie Pegman thanks! What about outside protected areas?
8th Jan, 2019
Torun Bergman
Tyréns AB
In Sweden it´s the same as in New Zealand; trees in national parks and nature reserves are protected. However, it depends of the regulations of the reserve. If it´s necessary for the outdoor life, management actions - including cutting some trees - might be undertaken. In addition, adult trees along avenues are protected according to Swedish environmental law. They are protected according to something called "Generellt biotopskydd" (General protection of biotopes).
8th Jan, 2019
Jessica Delangre
University of Liège
In Wallonia (Southern Belgium), the Forest Code requires the conservation of one "Tree of Biological Interest" (old trees with cavities or particularly large trees) per 2 hectares of forest. Moreover, all remarkable trees and hedges (more than 25000 in total) are legally protected.
There is also a special category of nature reserves (called "integral forest reserves") in which trees cannot be cut down except for security reasons.
8th Jan, 2019
Kristin Asmus
Rincon Consultants, Sacramento, California
In the U.S. we have protections at many levels. Similar to New Zealand and Sweden, trees in our national parks, monuments, and preserves are completely protected. Trees in our national forests are protected and managed by the U.S. Forest Service, though some small scale timber harvests are allowed for management purposes and require an approved timber harvest plan. At the state level I only know about California, where we have an Oak Woodland Preservation Act that was passed in 2001. There are often further protections for both natural woodlands and forests and trees associated with developments at the County level. And the majority of cities in California have tree protection ordinances (municipal code) and many have urban forest management plans that protect primarily park and street trees, and any trees on public property. However, many of those ordinances also provide protection for trees on private property to various extents. Property owners may be required to get a permit to do significant pruning and typically require a permit to remove a tree. Mitigation for removal is also required either by the planting of more new trees than were removed or payment into a city tree fund that is used to plant and maintain trees. While urban forest management plans are policy rather than law, they are almost always prepared and adopted based on the recognition of the ecological value of trees in the landscape. Here in California we have a law, the California Environmental Quality Act, that requires analysis of a proposed project's impacts under several environmental topic areas including air quality, cultural resources, and biological resources. Within biological resources one of the items for review is whether the proposed project conflicts with any regional or local policies or ordinances. In this way any policy on good forest management practices and reducing impacts to trees, woodlands, and forests becomes part of the legal context of project approvals.
8th Jan, 2019
Andrew Paul McKenzie Pegman
University of Auckland
Outside protected areas, not so much
8th Jan, 2019
Guy Lemperiere
École nationale supérieure de paysage de Versailles
Dear Joao,
There is a national inventory for veteran trees in France. Please contact Mickael Jezegou for more details: Mickael.JEZEGOU@cotesdarmor.fr
For the UK: please contact Jill Butler from Woodland Trust ( JillButler@woodlandtrust.org.uk ) and Ted Green ( edwardgreen629@btinternet.com)
Best regards,
Guy
1 Recommendation
8th Jan, 2019
Doaa El Amrousy
Tanta University
In Egypt, unfortunately nothing is protected even human being :(
1 Recommendation
9th Jan, 2019
Jan Helbach
University of Freiburg
Dear Doao,
In Germany of course in protected areas everything is protected in the strictest conservation levels. It is even forbidden to walk threw.
The Germany forests, like in many other European countries, have undergone a long period of intensive forest management. Thus, old trees or trees with elements which are of low economic value have been declined.
Nevertheless recently, in unprotected areas, laws have been passed to protect trees or groups of trees of high ecological value, too. Each forester has to map a certain amount of "habitat trees" per hectare. These trees are taken out of management and have the privilege to get old and develop decaying parts which are important for organism depending on these structures.
2 Recommendations
9th Jan, 2019
David Heaver
Natural England
IN the UK we have Tree Protection Orders (TPO) for trees outside of protected sites in England There are variants of this legislation in the other countries. .https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tree-preservation-orders-and-trees-in-conservation-areas, though these are used sparingly. Veteran trees can be selected as interest features within protected sites in their own right, in addition to any invertebrates, fungi, lichens etc that they may carry.
1 Recommendation
9th Jan, 2019
Irina Ivanko
Oles Honchar Dnipropetrovs’k National University
In Ukraine, there is a law “On the nature reserve fund of Ukraine” («Про природно-заповідний фонд України»). In accordance with this law, trees that are located on the territory of objects of the natural reserve fund are protected: national parks, reserves, botanical gardens, dendrological parks, park monuments of landscape art, etc. Also, some particularly valuable trees (age, memorial, historical, aesthetically valuable) have the status of botanical nature monuments and are protected by this law. At the state, region, local level (city).
1 Recommendation
9th Jan, 2019
Hemant K. Badola
Former Advisor to the Chief Minister of Sikkim (India) and Former Scientist G & Head: GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment Sikkim. Presently at: Aditya Doonshire Apts, Sailok Phase 2, GMS Road, Dehradun, India
Dear Joao, this is appreciable, you took a wonderful study.
Like many parts of the world, traditionally, trees are worshiped in India as sacred. By law, many policies and acts safeguard the forests and trees. The Protected area is one of the most effective tools worldwide.
For the protection of veteran, ancient and/or habitat trees, amongst many, I am sharing a couple of initiatives taken in recent years by the state Government in Sikkim; Sikkim state lies in the north-eastern region of India. Here, the veteran leader, Chief Minister of Sikkim, Dr Pawan Chamling is himself is widely known as the longest serving (about 25 years) and Greenest Chief Minister of India has been instrumental in converting Sikkim as the greener and organic landscape through not only by introducing many of the newest and unique conservation policies and effective laws, independently for the state or in conjunction with the national policy framework but also motivating the people at larger canvas. Already, state Green Mission of Sikkim has emerged as one of the most successful pro-green initiatives in the country and as motivational venture to the world.
The unique and culturally innovative initiative by declaring “Sikkim Forest Trees (Amity & Reverence) Rules, 2017” through legal notification, NO./GOS/FEWMD/PR.SECY-cum-PCCF/21 of 29/05/2017, towards strengthening the already immensely successful Green Mission. Here, “Mitini relationship" means forging of a relationship with and regarding of a tree as a brother by a woman, and the "Mith/Mit relationship" means forging of a relationship with and regarding of a tree as a brother by a man. Any person can be can be allowed to enter into a ‘Mith/Mit’ or ‘Mitini’ relationship with trees, standing on his or her private land or any public land. This is like adopting a tree like child, legally, and this Act will treat any felling of such trees as a punishable forest offence. This idea suggested by Pawan Chamling; encouragingly, the Pawan Chamling himself has adopted ‘Rhododendron’ tree as his ‘mith’ or friend.
A policy, “Sikkim Biodiversity Action Plan 2012” recommended identification and recognition of large and old trees and declare them as HERITAGE TREES (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319330085_Sikkim_Biodiversity_Action_Plan_2012/stats). Sikkim government came up with an idea, which focused on identifying and marking very old trees of Sikkim, and declared a large number of veteran, ancient and/or habitat trees, legally, them as ‘Heritage Trees’. Heritage trees are having above 20 feet girth. In 2016, the Sikkim Government of Sikkim declared over 50 heritage trees, signifying and uniquely acknowledging their biocultural importance (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321734994_Biocultural_knowledge_for_biodiversity_conservation_some_Himalayan_endorsements).
I am providing some web links of interests within above text. Keep on sharing your progress; this will help you getting better inputs.
Best wishes (9.1.2019)
10th Jan, 2019
Smitha D Gnanaolivu
Dear Joao,
You might want to refer this link
This will give you a greater understanding to what you are looking for.
10th Jan, 2019
Nils Franke
Wissenschaftliches Büro Leipzig
Yes, ancient trees are protected in one part of Germany (Hessen) since 1902, in Prussia (Preußen) since 1906 an in whole Germany since 1935.
10th Jan, 2019
Joshua Weiss
Promethium Carbon
If you are speaking of individual trees, South Africa has a project called the Champion Trees Project which legally gazettes native and exotic trees of particular size, age, aesthetic, cultural, historic or tourism value. There are regularly additions to the list which go out for comment. See https://cer.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Champion-2.pdf and https://www.daff.gov.za/daffweb3/Branches/Forestry-Natural-Resources-Management/Forestry-Regulation-Oversight/Sustainable-Forestry/Champion-Trees.
Additionally, some municipalities have bylaws and heritage laws which protect certain trees, primarily of historical significance.
1 Recommendation
10th Jan, 2019
David Dawson
David Heaver's reply on the English Tree Preservation Orders is rather misleading, as these Orders are to protect amenity, and nature conservation doesn't enter the equation unless the tree already qualifies on amenity grounds. Planning authorities are often reluctant to apply TPOs because of the work and expense involved. The Orders are also readily overturned by arboriculturalists arguing on behalf of the owner that the tree is dangerous. The most valuable old trees usually have dead wood, rotten cores, and such, and are often considered unhealthy. Such trees can be felled without much scrutiny. Protected trees can also be removed where they are in the way of permitted change of use in statutory land use planning. For all these reasons, the English Orders are really only effective when the owner is willing, as with many other aspects of English planning law.
10th Jan, 2019
Freddy Cáceres
INGERALEZA S.A.
I used to live in Quito-Ecuador, where there is a specific law regarding heritage trees (árboles patrimoniales). And now I live in Calgary-Canada, where I know there is also a similar one.
11th Jan, 2019
Elsayed Mohamed Ali Nafea
Suez university, egypt, suez
I think my country has a law for protection of trees that have a values and we have a protected area for the fossilized trees and for the ancient trees also for trees of ecological values the law called law no 103 for 1983 and 4 for 1994 and 9 for 2009
14th Jan, 2019
João Gonçalo Soutinho
CIBIO Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
Thank you all for these interesting answers. Will certainly help with our purpose.
18th Jan, 2019
Daniel Kraus
Bayerische Staatsforsten AöR (BaySF)
Dear Joao,
in Germany the protection of habitat trees is not explicitely mentioned in any law, however, indirectly the Federal Nature Conservation Law (BNatschG) of Germany states in § 39 (1) 3 that it is prohibited to destroy habitats of animals and plants without reason and in § 44 (1) 3 it is prohibited to remove, damage or destroy habitats (reproduction and restings sites) of specially protected (rare) species.
Furthermore the Bavarian Forest Law (BayWaldG) states in Art. 18 (1) 1 that during management activities nature conservation aspects must be considered at all times.
This was translated into conservation concepts for state forests in Bavaria where habitat trees (10 trees/ha) and veteran trees (locally called Methusalem trees, = dbh > 80 cm) are retained. This is not legally binding but has official character.
In private and communal forests there is a programme to pay forest owners a certain amount to stimulate the retention of habitat trees (at least for 12 years).
What happens when a habita tree is felled?
When a tree is in the government programme in a private forest the owner has to pay back the money. In state forests more or less nothing happens unless the tree hosts a habitat as mentioned above. Then it is an offence under the nature conservation law!
21st Jan, 2019
João Gonçalo Soutinho
CIBIO Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
Dear Daniel,
Thanks for you help. Regarding the last sentence, how is the value of the felled tree measured? It has in count the habitat value of the tree?
21st Jan, 2019
Daniel Kraus
Bayerische Staatsforsten AöR (BaySF)
For private and communal forests (Bavaria, Germany) there is a funding programme for the retention of habitat trees. There are a few criteria (such as tree hollows, woodpecker cavities, cracks, nests or dead branches/limbs) that make a tree eligible for a forest owner to suggest it for funding. The conservation agency together with the forest administration decide whether the criteria of a habitat tree are fulfilled and based on the dbh they grant the funding: <60 cm 125 €, > 60 cm 195 €. The tree must not be felled for the next 12 years, otherwise the owner has to pay it back. The same tree can be funded again after 12 years. A forest owner cannot receive more than 20,000 € from this programme per year.
To give you an example: the administration district I work in spends approximately 700,000 € annually in the frame of this funding programme on around 60,000 ha private and communal forest.
For state forests there is no such a thing as a funding programme since it is expected that state forests are managed exemplarily as a model for forest management. State foresters select habitat trees based on similar criteria as mentioned above and then they mark them permanently. Habitat values are not determined, just the target of 10 retained habitat trees/ha is envisaged (and monitored in a permanent inventory system).
21st Jan, 2019
João Gonçalo Soutinho
CIBIO Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
This is extremely interesting and I didn't have any idea regarding the values that this can actually achieve. This data, (thresholds and criteria) for protection is really what interests me in this research so that I can have an idea of what we can adopt here in Portugal. Thank you
11th Feb, 2019
Julien Radoux
Université Catholique de Louvain - UCLouvain
There are different laws in Belgium. In the Walloon region, we have what we call "remarkable trees" (veteran/ancient trees, but also esthetic tree or tree associated with local culture). If a tree is "remarkable", a special permit must be requested before any action (cutting or pruning). In case of offence, the value of the tree is estimated but it doesn't take the "habitat" value into account. Link (in french) http://environnement.wallonie.be/dnf/arbres_remarquables/juridiques.html
There are also some actions to try and keep "saule têtard" (salix with the head cut), but this is not a law and not a large amount of incentive money (15 euro/tree). Those trees have a high habitat value for many insect and bird species (the most emblematic is Athena Noctua)
In addition, based on the European Habitat directive, a tree can be protected if it hosts species from annex II (e.g. Osmoderma eremita ):indeed, core areas of annex II species habitat are designated as sites of Community importance (SCIs) and included in the Natura 2000 network. These sites must be managed in accordance with the ecological needs of the species. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/legislation/habitatsdirective/index_en.htm
11th Feb, 2019
Kiomars Sefidi
University of Mohaghegh Ardabili
Officially, there is no such law to protection habitat trees in Iran. But four years ago, the cutting all kind of trees in Iranian beech forest has been legally inhabited. before that, most forest managers did not remove such trees based on the principles of close to nature silviculture. Outside the forests, old trees that are more than 1000 years old are protected.
14th Feb, 2019
Mereana Rooy-Wilson
QEII National Trust, New Zealand, Wellington
Tena Koe,
This is a really interesting topic, as the organisation I work for in New Zealand has a National role to legally protect land with indigenous trees and/or specific trees (on a case by case basis), to be protected in perpetuity. To this end here is a link to the QEII National Trust Act, 1977. http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1977/0102/latest/whole.html.
Our act established the QEII National Trust to encourage and promotes the provision, protection, and enhancement of open space for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of New Zealand. As an organisation we work with landowners to legally protect indigenous trees for perpetuity through a land covenant that is bound to a specific land area.
In 2018 alone, we have legally protected almost 1200 hectares of closed canopy indigenous forest across New Zealand. As part of our agreed work programme with the Department of Conservation, we must ensure at least 90% of all legally protected lands must met at least one of the four national priorities for biodiversity protection on private land. (ecological values aspect).
In addition to this New Zealand's (NZ's), main environmental law the comprehensive Resource Management Act (RMA, 1991), has dedicated sections: 76(4A)­–76(4D), which sets national legislation and directs regional and local authorities to protect trees, particularly in urban settings. http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1991/0069/latest/DLM230265.html
Hope this helps inform your research.
26th Feb, 2019
Marcelo Eduardo Rojas Vidal
Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María
In Chile we have laws that protect native flora and fauna, especially in places called National Parks and also National Reserves, which are administered by the State.
9th May, 2019
Yi-Gang Song
Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden
We have this kind of laws in China.
14th May, 2019
Zaal Kikvidze
Ilia State University
In Georgia, veteran/ancient/habitat trees are protected by the law of natural monuments.
1 Recommendation
11th Jun, 2019
Łukasz Walas
Polish Academy of Sciences
In Poland, we have law that protect old and big trees as natural monuments. Administration of city/municipality decide, which tree are monument, according to size or exceptional features. Usually biggest trees become monuments (size depend on the species, for example it is DBH >50 cm for Taxus baccata but DBH > 300 cm for Fagus sylvatica). Sometimes some areas are natural monument, like “Crooked Forest” (Polish” “Krzywy Las”) – this forest have 1.7 ha and became monument because shapes of trees, which are not very old (about 80 years).
We have also various types of habitat protection, like national parks, nature reserves, landscape parks, "ecological sites", "nature and landscape complexes".
1 Recommendation
12th Jun, 2019
Hemant K. Badola
Former Advisor to the Chief Minister of Sikkim (India) and Former Scientist G & Head: GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment Sikkim. Presently at: Aditya Doonshire Apts, Sailok Phase 2, GMS Road, Dehradun, India
Many Asian countries, like India, Nepal, Bhutan, etc have long history of worshiping trees. In India, traditionally, people respect and worship trees growing especially in the premises of religious and other sensitively important places, and in many parts in the forests as sacred. Trees owe instilled consciousness, this is defined in the ancient Indian Vedic literature, the ‘Rig-Veda’ written during 1200-500 BC, which is also refered as the Manu’s law or the 'Mānava Dharma Śāstra'. In recent years, Sikkim state government has been legally identifying old, robust and huge trees and giving them legal status as Heritage trees. Such initiative should be taken by other governments. It is important that the communities and individuals conserving such heritage trees whether growing in the government, community or in private lands should continue being encouraged and rewarded. Extensive and technically appropriate awareness especially including urban or semi-urban areas would be vital, as the fringes of townships still have such large and old trees in numerous places, which need special protection through legal mechanisms.
1 Recommendation
22nd Jun, 2019
Rajasri Ray
Centre for studies in Ethnobiology, Biodiversity and Sustainability (CEiBa), West Bengal, India
In India, tree cutting in public place is prohibited. One has to take permission from forest or respective departments for that. Although old / ancient trees are venerated across the country, there is no specific law for their protection. However, one can apply the provision of "Biodiversity Heritage Site" for places with ancient / old trees but that is applicable in a collective way not for a single tree. I have recently published a popular article on ancient tree emphasizing on their status and importance in our life. Here is a link for it, if you are interested...
or in my ResearchGate page - CEiBa Newsletter Vol. 2, Issue 1, 2019
11th Apr, 2021
Gopal S. Rawat
Wildlife Institute of India
Dear colleagues,
I missed this important discussion. Nice to see Ms. Ray's article above. Despite all socio-cultural and religious significance of heritage / ancient trees in India, there are hardly any laws to protect them (except a few states e.g., West Bengal). However, when it comes to widening of highways and construction of Railway Overpasses, etc., the construction companies rarely respect such trees in India. Hence, Hon'ble Supreme Court of India has recently constituted an expert committee to formulate the rules for the protection and conservation of such trees. I am one of the members of this committee. If any of you are aware of any rules / laws anywhere, please let me know.
Cheers!
---
19th Apr, 2021
Salvador Lyngdoh
Wildlife Institute of India
I am aware that Meghalaya already has a Heritage Act of 2009 which ensure such protection.
19th May, 2021
Gopal S. Rawat
Wildlife Institute of India
Yes! UK, USA and Australia have come up with rules pertaining to protection of trees. Will share a few papers separately.
Best,
GS Rawat
---
1 Recommendation
7th Jun, 2021
Deniz Mengüllüoğlu
Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research
Hi João Gonçalo Soutinho , for Turkey please find the regarding information and list below. Currently we have around 9369 monumental trees. Most of them above 1000 years age. Not all trees are included in the search engine tough, there are examples from many locations.
Bests,
Deniz
7th Jun, 2021
Rajasri Ray
Centre for studies in Ethnobiology, Biodiversity and Sustainability (CEiBa), West Bengal, India
I would like to add one more point related to old tree in India. In India, Ficus benghalensis and Ficus religiosa are widely known and available among the old trees. It is because of their faster growth they attain quite good size at a comparatively younger age, if undisturbed. On the other hand, trees like Tamarindus indica, Mitragyna parviflora, Samanea saman and other ficus members are not that lucky in that sense. Obviously there are exceptions. I suggest to develop a comprehensive manual from respective bodies to set some technical parameters for old tree identification which also address local variations across the country. Only GBH based assessment or folklore won't help much.
1st Jul, 2021
Gopal S. Rawat
Wildlife Institute of India
I thank all of you for your kind response. It is much appreciated.
Gopal Rawat
---
12th Nov, 2021
João Gonçalo Soutinho
CIBIO Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
13th Nov, 2021
W.V. Tharindu Amarasinghe
State Timber Corporation
João Gonçalo Soutinho In Sri Lanka, "Antiquities Ordinance", PART IIIANCIENT MONUMENTS specifies the declaration of specified trees as ancient monuments. It says "any tree, whether growing in State land or any other land, is of such historical or archaeological importance, that it is necessary in order to secure the preservation or protection of such tree.

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