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  • March Meeting - Lessons learned from the urban forest in Kiev and Pripyat Ukraine

March Meeting - Lessons learned from the urban forest in Kiev and Pripyat Ukraine

  • 2 Mar 2021
  • 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM


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Presented by Dr. Jim Downer

Lessons learned from the urban forest in Kiev and Pripyat Ukraine

In April 1986 the worst nuclear accident in man's history occurred in Chernobyl, Ukraine.  The release of radionuclides was ten times greater than that of the accident at Fukushima, Japan.  Over thirty years later radiation remains but a level that allows visits to the nuclear zone surrounding the Chernobyl powerplant.  This offered a unique opportunity to visit the abandoned forest of the worker's town of Pripyat where trees were planted, established, and then left unmaintained since the accident.  The ecosystem recovery around Chernobyl and Pripyat is dramatic.  My colleague John Karlik and I first visited the zone in 2012 and then returned three more times making observations of the forest and trees in both the capitol city of Kiev and the workers town of Pripyat.  Our observations suggest that trees growing without pruning often develop better branch architecture than those aggressively maintained with substandard arboricultural practices.  Our visits resulted in the formation of an arborist society in Ukraine (the first of its kind) which continues to work on increasing the education and skill of Ukraine arborists.

About Dr. Downer: 

Dr. Downer has 35 years of experience as a horticulture and plant pathology advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension in Ventura County.    Dr. Downer’s academic training is from Cal Poly, Pomona, (BSc. horticulture & botany, 1981; MSc. biology with an emphasis in plant pathology, 1983; Ph.D. in plant pathology, 1998 from University of California, Riverside.  Dr. Downer’s research focuses on mulch, soil microbiology and disease suppression in mulched soils, diseases of shade trees and other landscape plants and cultural practices to maintain landscape plants especially trees.  Dr. Downer is a member of the American Society of Horticultural Science, the American Phytopathological Society, The International Soc. of Arboriculture, and the Western Chapter of the ISA (WCISA), the International Society for Horticultural Science. Dr. Downer is an adjunct professor at California Polytechnic University in Pomona where he teaches plant pathology and arboriculture, and works with graduate students in plant science.  Dr. Downer also serves on the Board of the John Britton Fund for tree research and currently chairs the regional conference committee for WCISA.  Dr. Downer has a love of shade trees, tree work, wood working, gardening, pruning trees, horses and riding them, horticulture and the general study of plants and plant biology.  Dr. Downer is currently working remotely from his small ranch in Portal, Arizona.

The Zoom link will be sent to attendees on Monday prior to the meeting.

The meeting will be free to members and employees and $25.00 for nonmembers 


1.5 Arborists/Tree Workers/Municipal Specialist/BCMA - Practice

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