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Rotterdam wants to communicate clearly that it takes special care of trees

Rotterdam bids farewell to dead trees with QR codes

Rotterdam bids farewell to dead trees with QR codes

Learn more about the pilot project

On 10 January Rotterdam informed of the start of a new pilot project, which aims to give more information on why any tree is being intentionally cut down. But also, in a sense, it provides a chance to say a last goodbye and honour the fact that it stood tall providing shade and clean air.

Hence, for a period of one month, the Dutch city will mark 100 trees that are dead or irreparably damaged with QR codes. Said codes will inform citizens on the reason why a tree could no longer stay where it used to and had to be taken down.

A digital representation of the state of trees in Rotterdam

As Dutch citizens are getting more conscious of the environment, they tend to value the scarce urban greenery more and more. As such, when a living tree is being cut, it often sparks outrage and provokes questions. However, there are times when logging is inevitable as the tree is ill beyond recovery or is dangerous to the safety of humans and buildings.

In an attempt to make this information clearer and dispel all doubts of illegal logging, the Municipality of Rotterdam decided to trial a proactive communication approach. The trial concerns 100 trees that are dead or irreparably damaged in the neighbourhood of Charlois and the surrounding areas.

Each tree will receive a QR code specifying the cause of its death and will be indicated on a digital map of trees planned for replacement, as part of the city’s responsibility to take care of trees. If the trial is deemed successful, it can be expanded to other city areas.

The municipality points out that the pilot only concerns the new way of informing the public, while the day-to-day work for protecting trees remains the same. The Municipality continues to carefully monitor urban trees throughout the year, as part of its duties.

Those trees that pose risk to safety are either being pruned or removed. For this, the Municipality relies on tree inspectors who verify whether a tree can no longer be saved. The procedure involves an application for a felling permit, which is visualised on the interactive map. If the permit is granted, one can object against it within the following six weeks.

Finally, the Municipality usually replaces the cut tree with a new one. However, it is not always possible to plant a new tree immediately after one has been cut. Instead, every summer, the locations where a tree has been removed are visited and it is decided if a new one can be planted. This information is updated and reflected on a Tree replacement map.

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