Tuesday, August 14, 2007

ISA HK/China --- HK Tree News (Aftermath of the falling apart of the 200 year old 'Champion' Ficus

*** Station Mail is for the information of Station Members only, but Station Mail has given up copyright & can be freely circulated. For administrative reasons, comments from outsiders are usually not entertained & may be circulated within our system locally & overseas.***

Dear Station Members,

Further to the media report of the falling apart of the 200 year old 'Champion' Ficus by the newspapers yesterday, the event was shown at the Main News at 6.30 pm at TVB as a rare occasion. More media comments are given in the attached newspaper cutting & the link below:


This Station felt that this incident has attracted more publicity than the falling branches of the Wishing Tree in Tai Po in 2005, maybe because the public has grown with arboricultural knowledge & would not be satisfied with traditional explanation anymore.

In both media comment & private conversation, this Station has heard only criticism about the treatment this poor tree has received, & sadly never any support on LCSD's explanation. The general sentiment is that of disappointment. Criticism ranged from doubting the ability of LCSD to look after our Mature Trees & even hinted the change of the Tung Govt in 2005 could be related to the falling of the branches of the Wishing Tree !! Our media has truly fascinating imagination indeed.

Station Mail is written with facts & professional arbor knowledge, & is never meant to attack anybody. On the other hand, Station Mail is circulated to the media & is on Blog (http://www.isahkchina.blogspot.com/). The media also frequently call up the Station Manager for comments on tree affairs in our territory. Therefore, they have found ways to study modern arboriculture through straight or narrow.

From all the evidence gathered, this 200 year old 'Champion's Ficus seems to be entering a ' Spiral of Decline' already & very little can be done to it for full recovery. The newly grown part would be attacked by the decaying part because the defense system of this Mature Tree seems to be very weak already. At present, it is rather like an Aids patient receiving a cocktail treatment of medicines. The medicines may prolong life of the patient for a while, but could not prevent the eventual reality, which is death.

From the state it is observed, if this dying 'Champion' Ficus would ever recover to its former glory, it may become the ' 8th Wonder of the Tree World' & a detailed Station Mail will have to be produced to announce such achievement to the ISA World ! Station Mail is nowadays circulated overseas to many Govt Depts & Institutes, & is influential.

If this tree would die, uproar may arise among the media all over town. Our media have never seemed to be happy about the treatment of our many ailing Mature Trees anyway. They would be like sharks hunting blood & would open the history book on our Mature trees to count the numbers. Someone may have to take the blame.

What is happening now for this 'Champion' Ficus may also spread to other Govt Dept looking after trees, since there are altogether 9 Govt Depts involved with Greenery in HK. Greenery or Environmental issues can not ignore trees.

This poor tree is now stuck at a dead end. Apparently very little can be done to it for full recovery. The only imaginary solution would be to consult our Mainland Chinese brothers & sisters for any' Magic Cure' to save this tree. If it does not work at the end, they can take the blame & let the media go after them ...

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

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