Grannie Green Revivial

For post before Aug 09, please read it with Traditional Chi Big 5 Code

Chp 122, Tree destruction – Forty years champion for the environment

Tree destruction

Cases of tree destruction were always sad news to CA, whether that was the result of mischief or negligence. In all of the major cases where CA took a public view, the need for a Tree Ordinance was always reinforced.

In 2005, CA was shocked by what it described as a “mass murder” of some 200 trees in Tai Lam Country Park on 13 July. The crime scene was Tai Tong Shan Road inside Tai Lam Country Park. The felled trees consisted of 10 species planted along a 1 km forest track, mostly sweet gum, include acacia, Chinese guger tree and pine.

Describing the act as “a blatant breach of law and an affront to the Administration’s conservation works”, CA petitioned the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau and LegCo, urging the Administration to bring the vandals to justice.

Then in November 2006 CA received a complaint about “topping” of mature trees from residents of Leung King Estate in Tuen Mun, a public turned private housing estate under Tenants Purchase Scheme. A site visit revealed that many mature trees were “decapitated”. According to the property manager, the “pruning” trees necessary to avoid the risk of falling branches hurting people, and was supported by the Owners’ Corporation. CA expressed deep regret and advised the property management that new shoots from topped trees were more prone to breaking, and the trees that were not properly topped would be more vulnerable to diseases thus posing bigger threats to the public. For proper tree pruning, professional arborists must be hired.

In 2007 the “King of Hong Kong Urban Tree”, the Banyan in Kowloon Park, made newspaper headlines when one third of its tree trunk collapsed on 13th August. Situated at the football pitch in Kowloon Park, it was the largest Chinese Banyan with the thickest trunk in Hong Kong, but it fell prey to construction works and ineffectual tree conservation measures. The tree is still in bad condition in 2008.

In a way that was not surprising. The tree team at the Leisure and Cultural Services Department Tree Team comprise only 110 staff, but they have to take care of 700,000 trees in Hong Kong. Although Old and Valuable Trees are inspected twice a year, the collapse of the King Banyan clearly revealed the inadequacy of resources in tree conservation. As CA stated, “Whether a tree is able to survive cannot be determined just by its health conditions, its structural stability is equally important. Even if the trunks are healthy, a tree with root decay still has chance to collapse. The Administration spares no expenses on greening, but it should also allocate resources for tree conservation, otherwise trees can hardly enhance the environment and increase the risk of collapses. The result is that it both waste public fund and jeopardize public safety.”

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August 11, 2015 - Posted by | conservation, Dr WK Chan book

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