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John Parker

Chief Executive Officer

UK Arboricultural Association

Talk 1: Monday 8th April | 9:20am

Talk 2: Monday 8th April | 3:30pm


Talk 1: Abori-what? Raising awareness of the tree care profession

Talk 2: The challenge of improving standards in an unregulated sector


John Parker has been Chief Executive Officer of the Arboricultural Association since July 2021, and previously held the role of Technical Director at the Association from August 2019. John is UK & Ireland President of the International Society of Arboriculture, a member of the European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF) International Steering Group and a UK representative on the European Arboricultural Council. He is a Chartered Environmentalist, Chartered Forester and an Associate Member of the Royal Society of Biology. He frequently presents at national and international conferences and has delivered a TED Talk entitled Why trees are better than people (available on YouTube). Since spring 2020 John has chaired the Arboricultural Association webinar series, covering a huge range of topics to a global audience. From 2012-2019 John was a member of the Executive Committee of the London Tree Officers Association, which he Chaired in 2016-18, and until 2019 he was a Director of the National Association of Tree Officers. In 2018 he was named Young European Urban Forester of the Year and in 2022 he was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in Horticulture by Pro Landscaper Magazine. From 2020 until 2022 he was as a Trustee of the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum, the national UK tree collection. John is interested in public engagement, green equity and promoting the benefits of trees, with particular consideration for their social and cultural value. He is the founder of the Stonehouse Community Arboretum and is a Trustee of the Doverow Hill Trust.


Arboriculture in the UK remains an unregulated profession. In theory at least, anyone can buy themselves a chainsaw and call themselves an arborist. This situation has serious implications for health and safety, standards of tree work and for the reputation of the sector, and this presentation will explore some of the ways in which the Arboricultural Association and partner organisations seek to raise standards and drive forward professionalism in a difficult environment. This includes accreditations such as the Approved Contractor and Registered Consultant Schemes, professional membership and charterships, continuous professional development and training, best practice guidance documentation, political lobbying and public engagement. There is also an important link here with the succession crisis in arboriculture – where is the next generation of tree care professionals coming from, and how do we attract them to the sector and offer them a clear pathway of career development? Things have certainly improved in many ways over the six decades since the Arboricultural Association was founded, but there is still much to do.

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