UKTC Archive

Plotting groups

Subject: Plotting groups
Date: Dec 12 2008 10:55:28
Question: Tree databases.

Plotting trees in groups is more cost effective.  It provides data 
which is easy to understand and easy to re-visit, (especially when 
compared with lots of confusing, individual records).  But does a 
methodology which promotes the surveying of the majority of trees as 
groups, offer a robust defence against litigation?

Let’s say, “Bob” surveys 10 trees in a collective group.  They are 
generally in fair health but with some minor defects.  They are located 
next to a public highway.  Bob surveyed them all in detail at the time 
of inspection, but the methodology requires one generalised record for 
the collective group.  We know that all trees are slightly different 
and a single database entry for a group of trees will only ever record 
the “average tree” within the group.  

Now lets say one of the trees, fails.  The expert witness for the 
“other side” says what he is paid to say, “there was clear evidence 
that the tree would fail.”  If we assume that “Bob” surveyed the trees 
properly (and yes, with hindsight, the tree should have been plotted as 
an individual, but the same applies to most of the others), is there an 
obvious problem with a methodology which promotes plotting trees as 
groups wherever possible?  Will such a methodology provide a robust 
defence against litigation?  

Now lets apply the same scenario to a woodland.  There are over 1,000 
trees and again, a general note appears within the database.  One of 
the trees fails…
Any thoughts?

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