Wednesday, August 29, 2007

ISA HK/China --- HK Tree News (Flood Lighting a Mature Albizia & Tree Butchery in a School)

*** 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,

Attached are some recent tree news of HK to show the world & it was sadness all the way unfortunately:

1. Flood-Lighting the Mature Albizia in Sau Mau Ping

The Station Manager has great admiration towards this tree when he was taken by Mr. P Mok of Housing Dept in Jan 2006 to visit this beautiful giant. A Station Mail named ' Housing Dept Champion Trees' was also produced at that time to praise this magnificent tree with photos of good images. It is very sad now that this last line of fine trees of HK has gone to such waning & seems to be entering the Spiral of Decline. If nothing is to be done to it, this tree is likely going to die off part by part, just like the 200 year old ' Champion Ficus' in Kowloon Park.

There is a lack of research data on tree's reaction to constant lighting around the world because in most Western nations, Mature Trees would not usually be flooded with strong light throughout the night in the name of visual pleasure. Trees have been in existence on this planet for over 200 million years & the world has invented flood-lighting for less than 100 years. Trees in their natural habitat will not be flood-lit throughout the night. There are already over 100,000 species of trees discovered & we do not know which one would enjoy flood-lighting all night. Would strong light not disturb the physiology of a Mature Tree in its sleep? If some would say it is proper to light up a Mature Tree all night long, can they provide valid research to convince the world?

As for any good landscape, it is always ' Mother Nature makes the rules, not us '. If we go against Mother Nature, we would usually obtain an opposite effect, not matter how we use our words to provide the cosmetics.

2. Concreting Tree Roots on ground & slopes

Some of us do not seem to appreciate that trees, like animals, need also to breathe. Trees do not have a circulation system like animals & tree roots get their oxygen from only nearby. If this oxygen is depleted, by soil compaction or flooding, tree roots will die.

When tree roots die, the canopy above will wither gradually because it would lack the water & nutrient supply from below. Then diebacks will appear & tree parts may fall to hit something or somebody below. In HK, we tend to call this an ' Act of God'.

But is it really ??

3. Topping at a Tsuen Wan School

From the picture so shown in the newspaper cutting, this might as well be called Tree Butchery instead. What is ironical is that it happens at a school, where they would preach our young to respect life. Is any tree not a life? Do we mutilate a person if he/she grows too tall??

If Leung King Estate got punished by topping without approval, then why should this incident get away? Are they private trees, & should private trees receive no respect?

It is a general misunderstanding that any tree growing tall will collapse. If the tree has been well cared for, this worry is entirely incorrect. If a tree would collapse after attaining a certain height, there will be no standing Mature Trees in the forest, or even anywhere in Western cities. What the HK public need to understand is how trees grow & die, yet they can not get the correct information except from our Station, & our Station can only write in English.

Sad to see our Mature Trees disappearing one by one due to our mal-practice. HK is seen to be without basic tree care by international standard for our many Mature Trees. Then what trees are we going to leave to our next generation ? Tiny topped trees in the name of ' flowering' from inadequate China nurseries? Do we call this our good landscape??

Then who should be responsible for all these ??

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

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