Thursday, November 29, 2007

ISA HK/China --- Our Station went on 'Arborist News'

*** Our weekly 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. Please note Station Mail is sometimes given in Blog at , although images are usually not attached due to size. ***

Dear Station Members,

It is an honour & pride for ISA HK/China Station to appear on the international magazine 'Arborist News' in the October 2007 edition, as shown in the attachment. Once on this magazine, readers from 50 countries around the world will see our image as edited by this influential publication.

The interview of the Station Manager to Arborist News took place actually several months before the printing in order to catch up with the editing. Within these few months, positive development has occurred in our territory for arboriculture. Therefore, some of the information so mentioned in the interview may already be outdated by today's standard. In a nutshell, ISA Arboriculture is seen to be receiving attention from our Govt by sending in Civil Servants to sit for the Certified Arborist exam & by arranging seminars for our Station to participate. New positions such as the Independent Tree Specialist (ITS) & Competent Person (CP) were created to allow Arborist to practise in Govt Contracts. Trees of international quality were begun to be required by Govt Depts. We feel our Govt are lending gradual support to recognize the values of the Arborist Profession in available manner in order to protect & preserve the trees in our territory.

On the other hand, the public sector did not seem to advance much in the recognition of proper arboriculture as compared to the Govt. There were numerous complaints for tree malpractice in the media but hardly any organization would invite us to give them a talk on proper tree care or ISA. Action appears to be far lacking behind from that of the Govt. Many reasons may account for this phenomenon, with perhaps the existing interest of certain groups or commercial interest remaining the major concern possibly. After all, the employment of Arborist would involve additional cost & new learning. No employer would prefer to pay extra if it can be ever avoided, & would try to fend off Arborist unless absolutely required by Govt administration. This appears to be a fact of life.

It can be seen that in Singapore with the massive number of Arborists working in their Govt Depts has produced some of the finest trees, & thus quality living environment, in Asia. Singapore does not seem to stop there & would demand the best all the time. The National Parks Board of the Singapore Govt (Nparks) recently paid extra to buy two container load of quality trees from ETF to serve as comparison to their local stocks. They have emphasized by action that quality stocks is the first key to success.

HK would obviously like to do the same, although resistance in HK is likely to be heavier especially in the private sector. HK tends most of the time to place price over quality & HK is influenced heavily by China in nursery stocks supply. Some buyers would even regard having topped trees for landscape would enhance survival & reduce water stress. The long term vision of having cheaper maintenance with quality trees would not bother a lot of the contractors because they would only last to until the end of DLP. Then it becomes the liability of the maintenance party. HK speaks a different story indeed.

On the other hand, HK people are known to be adaptive & innovative. Once the knowledge is exploited by them, things may begin to change. It would be hard to be self-complacent in your landscape when your trees would fail like dead flies after every storm. Complaints & law suits may follow. Facts speak stronger than words.

This Station will remain dogged in the development for modern arboriculture in our territory as we should do, despite resistance & obstacles. After all, we are not the first of our kind in the world. We are simply followers of many others. ISA was started in 1924, long before many horticultural groups or landscape groups have even been born. May those who believe in our course lend support to proper design, installation & maintenance of quality trees in our territory, so that our trees can truly become our asset in place rather than on paper.

May we all persist.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

The ISA Mission - Through research, technology, and education, promote the professional practice of arboriculture and foster a greater public awareness of the benefits of trees. (

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