Risk minimisation is an aim you often see in tree strategies. Like the recently released Sustainable Forest Initiative Urban and Community Forest Sustainability Standard.
Lots of great stuff about sustainability in urban and community forests. BUT, one of the 5 PRINCIPLES is to 'minimize risk' from trees.
On the face of it, minimising risk seems like a desirable and reasonable aim. Until, that is, you carefully think about what minimising risk actually means. What the costs and consequences of minimising risk actually are.
To minimise a risk is to make it as small as you can. No matter what the costs, or the loss of benefits.
If your goal is risk minimisation, whatever the risk, you can always make it smaller.
This These go to 11 scene from This is Spinal Tap nails the issue.
these go one louder
In the same way that 11 is 'one louder' than 10. Whatever the risk, you can minimise it by making it 'one lower'.
There's always some work you can do to a tree, or the occupancy below it, to minimise the risk by making it 'one lower'.
If someone dies, or is injured, or property damaged. It's really easy for a Claimant to show the risk wasn't minimised, because the risk could've been 'one lower'.
The language we use in tree risk is super important because it affects how we think about it, and the decisions we make.
We know there are levels of risk that are so low they're Acceptable or Tolerable. When risks are this low, you don't need to minimise the risk and go 'one lower'.