The History of Tree Management at the University of Sussex
Sir Basil Spence, the architect who designed the University campus in the 1960's, took his inspiration for the look of the buildings from the natural surroundings of the campus. He wanted to create the feeling of a campus in a parkland setting, to complement the landscape design in the neighbouring Stanmer Park. There was a spine of mature trees that ran through the centre of the campus and the location of the buildings was designed around this key natural feature. In the 1960's there were as many as 600 mature trees in this central area. Then, following the hurricane that hit the south coast in 1987, over 300 trees were lost from this central spine and pockets of woodland on the edge of the campus were devastated.
There are many excellent specimens on the campus including some mature Beech (Fagus sylvatica) and some of the largest English Elms (Ulmus procera) remaining in country.
So that the University can look after the trees that are such a feature of the campus, the Estates Department commissioned a survey in 2000. Local arboricultural company, RW Green's, carried out a comprehensive survey of all the semi-mature and mature trees on the campus. The survey created a catalogue of individual trees or woodland areas of trees and information was recorded on their condition and a programme to manage and maintain them. If you look on the trees around the campus you will see a small silver tag with a unique number on it and that number relates to the tree survey and information on how the tree is to be cared for. The survey was carried out again in 2005 in order to keep the information up to date and to include trees that have reached maturity in the five year period since the original survey was commissioned.