Monday, June 2, 2008

ISA HK/China ---2008 research on 'The importance of trees and nature in community'

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Dear Station Members,

Attached is an article of a collection of recent research on the benefits & importance of trees for community development. Very rarely do we see so many research put together from international contribution to emphasize the social & psychological needs of humans on trees to improve the quality of living in a community. This article can establish to be a good reference point indeed.

In HK, it appears that when trees are preserved, it is out of respect for maturity & mostly out of sentiment, although sometimes for requirement of ecological balance & pollution control. When these mature trees are preserved by retention or transplanting, consideration on tree structure does not appear to be a critical factor. As long as the trees can be there, it would satisfy public demand. Then when the preserved tree would fail in a storm, it was just a matter of bad luck & nobody's fault.

On the other hand, when trees are selected for planting in our urban landscape, showy flowering appears to be a major consideration by many designers, which would appear to defeat the objectives of pollution control & ecological protection, since not too many flowering species so used at present would grow to the point of providing these benefits.

The Station Manager has been visiting tree planting in Singapore many times & would hesitate to say it with HK which would turn out to be a world of difference. On the other hand, if anyone would ask where the Station Manager would like to stand amidst the hottest days in summer in an urban area, the answer would be a definite 'yes' for Singapore & not HK, for all the big spreading trees they have over there. These trees would also give a feeling of home, besides one can feel peace & tranquillity under them.

Can HK create a similar effect in an overall scenario? Haven't we tried for years with sizeable funding & many committees already? Would anyone like to say that we are now near Singapore, or even comparable to Shenzhen?

There must be explanations for why we are at our current state & many of us appear to understand the problems. On the other hand, how many of us would actually try to propose solutions & are those solutions practical & feasible? Then if we want to stay on our current course without deviation, would we be able to satisfy the taxpayers & politicians in the longer run? Or do we tell the pubic that we should not compare our tree planting with anybody? This may be something we need to find out answers for those who are in the industry.

Maybe we can try to study why others have achieved success to compare with our own as a possible start. It would be from design, administration, execution, maintenance, regular inspection, risk management to preservation, & may be other areas. It may become a major overhaul for our existing system if we decide to look at it carefully. It appears that success does not come without a price tag.

Then how should we begin? Should ISA HK/China organize another Study Tour to Singapore by a joint Govt & Private Sector delegation for a 3rd time? There will be a Singapore Garden Festival 2008 Expo from July 24 - 26 over there. Should we form a big study group & go?

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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