Recently I was informed by San Antonio's Park and Recreation department that no one is allowed to climb or attach anything to trees because they believe this will harm the trees. I've looked every where to find articles to discredit this belief, however have come up with next to nothing. Does anyone have, or know where I can find actual research that climbing and adding stress to trees actually benefits the tree by making them stronger? Links w
I think it would be difficult to argue a quantifiable biological benefit for trees from recreational tree climbers. The best we can do is say "we use techniques that will not harm a tree" and we observe sound "leave no trace" ethics in our climbing. It's easy to argue that climbing trees damages them, an irresponsible climber can do plenty of damage to the tree or habitat and/or tree roots on the ground. Depending on how the land is managed trees in city parks can already be at a disadvantage if they're surrounded by mowed turf right up to the trunk. Additionally city government lawyers are happy not to have potential liability issues, any excuse to bar tree climbing is good enough for them.
Another approach might be to talk about the benefits of tree climbing for youths and adults, there is scientific and lots of anecdotal data out there. As mentioned potential damage from climbers can easily be mitigated. There are much greater dangers to urban trees than tree climbers.