The Resource Management Act 1991 requires the Council to take a role in protecting historic heritage when looking after Marlborough’s natural and physical resources. This includes heritage trees. Some trees are also notable for their botanical rarity, sheer size, scientific interest, age, form and condition, functional value or just how they sit in the landscape.
The Council identifies significant trees and, where appropriate, provides protection for them. This is mostly achieved through listing trees in a register of notable trees in the Marlborough Environment Plan (MEP). Notable trees may also be identified on the NZ Tree register coordinated by the New Zealand Notable Trees Trust.
Trees have been assessed against the Standard Tree Evaluation Method (STEM) to determine the condition of the tree, its amenity value and the notable value of the tree or group of trees. A STEM assessment is carried out by a qualified arborist and helps determine the level of protection required in the MEP.
When identifying trees for including in the register, the Council considers whether the tree or trees:
- Commemorates an important local event either in Maori or European history, settlement and development
- Is an important landmark and has been for some time
- Has historic association with a well-known public figure
- Has distinctive botanical value
The Council places great importance on the input and support of the community in its ongoing efforts to protect notable trees. Often it is the support of individual private land owners or groups that enable these trees to be protected.