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Symposium 2023


There is a need to plant and replant avenues. But how?

All over the world, "forgiving road side" road-safety policies are a major obstacle to the preservation and planting of roadside trees. In practice, planting further away from the edge of the road is rarely feasible. It is also inconsistent with the conventional geometric characteristics of tree avenues.

But does road safety really depend on there being no trees close to the road? Is the guarantee of physical integrity enough to make life worth living? Does not physiological existence, our physical health, our mental wellbeing, and our social wellbeing also depend on trees? Is beauty not also as indispensable a factor for living or rebuilding oneself, for putting some magic into the world and drawing society into crucial projects?


Shifting the paradigm

In 1970, French President Georges Pompidou made a clear statement: “Safeguarding the trees planted along our roads (…) is essential for the beauty of our country, to protect nature, and to safeguard a truly human environment” and “whatever the scale of road-safety problems, they are no justification for disfiguring the [country’s] landscape

Fifty years later, it is now vital to preserve and multiply tree avenues, as a form of international cultural heritage and as vital corridors in the light of global warming and biodiversity loss?

The need for beauty and tree avenues must be concretely reflected in the road safety and the development policies. A joint declaration and the first steps towards creation of a ‘European tree-avenue route’ under the Council of Europe’s Cultural Routes programme will be proposed to underscore this commitment.


Everyone is concerned, everyone can be involved

By participating in the symposium, elected officials (particularly from our partner the Aude Department Council, and the group on tree avenues of the German Bundestag), professionals in arboriculture, road management, urban planning, environment, culture, tourism, and the public at large will find food for thought and transform the necessary paradigm shift into reality.

The symposium will be conducted in both French and English, with simultaneous translation by an interpreting team.


High-caliber speakers from twelve countries

Is not beauty a special marker of tree avenues, a factor in the very principle of their existence?

The human dimension, one of symposium’s most central topics, will be addressed through a collection of personal accounts such as that of Geneviève Jurgensen, founder of France’s League for Combating Road Accidents (LCVR), and descriptions of tree planting in Harlem and Berlin (Sonja Dümpelmann, Co-Director of the Rachel Carson Centre for Environment and Society at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich) and during the Trees for Sarajevo operation.u

The physiological effects of beauty, the issues of risk and behaviour will be addressed by Sylvie Monpoint, physician, David Ball, risk management expert at Middlesex University, and Jean-Pascal Assailly, member of the Committee of Experts, CNSR – French National Road Safety Council.

The historical and cultural dimensions and the role of tree-lined avenue beauty will be discussed by Mathieu Flonneau (University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne), Patrik Olsson (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences), Giedré Godiené (Vilnius University), Marco Cadinu (University of Cagliari), Jürgen Peters (Eberswalde University), Eric Alonzo, member of ITTECOP's scientific council, and Jean-Baptiste Viale (French National School of Architecture of Clermont-Ferrand).

The latest data and novel approaches concerning the effects trees have on physical and mental health will be explored by Neville Fay, former committee chairman for the British National Tree Safety Group, Hubert Mansion, founder of the University in Nature and organizer of the 2023 World Conference on Forests for Public Health, and Marianne Zandersen of Aarhus University, coordinator of the REGREEN project. The biodiversity of tree avenues will be addressed by Anna Westin and Tommy Lennartson from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

The touristic potential of tree avenues will be covered by Marina Cervera, co-director of the Barcelona International Landscape Biennial, and Nadine Darson Beretta, director of the Aude Tourism Development Agency. Sunday 19 November will be devoted to visiting tree avenues in the Aude administrative region.


From Sunday 19 November (visit) to Tuesday 21 November.

Coming soon: program and registration details will be available at