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Thank you for your enquiry.
We have found your enquiry is of a nature of interest to our Station Members. We therefore broadcast our reply in an open Station Mail for the benefit of all & at the same time without disclosing any of your details. We hope you do not mind us doing it like this.
It is indeed the plan of ISA HK/China to enact a new professional status called the Independent Practicing Arborist (IPA) within our territory of HK, Macau, Taiwan & China to suit our local conditions. We do this out of the following reasons:
(A) The Need
It is known that our Certified Arborists (CA) in our territory have split into 3 major groups at present, the Practicing, the non-Practicing & In-house.
The non-Practicing CA, who is the largest group at present, are mostly Civil Servants. In accordance with current Govt Policies, they are not allowed to enter private practice without consent from senior authorities. The In-house group which is the second largest, would mostly work to the commercial interest of their employers, & would be doubted for their impartiality in performance. The last group which is slowly emerging from among our 160 no. of CA in HK is the Practicing group (IPA) who work for themselves without representing anybody's interest, & have to accept professional responsibilities for their work as well as any legal liability that would incur. IPA is supposed to be impartial & unbiased, & would generally be involved to carry out independent assessment in arboricultural matters including legal disputes, supervise Tree Work from transplanting to pruning, & to deliver education in seminars & forum to the general public. IPA is also the Auditor for trees similar to Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for companies.
Work of IPA is usually of an independent nature & would not comply with anybody's commercial, departmental or professional interest. IPA is not supposed to have any sentiment or prejudice over his/her work, & should be unbiased to release his/her comments out of international practices or latest research. In a way, IPA is the pinnacle of the Arboricultural Profession in our territory & would be honoured to the determined few.
(B) The Working Environment
From past experience in our territory, IPA would usually involve in reviewing Tree Survey, providing professional comments in Tree Protection, carrying our Tree Inspection & Risk Assessment, providing design & supervision in Structural Pruning & Transplanting, conducting education in Arboricultural Training, acting as Expert Witness for Tree Disputes in Court, & Consultation in tree care matters. It is therefore our recommendation that the IPA should stay upfront in the field of knowledge as well as possessing practical experience including the use of arboriculture means such as Tree Climbing, Chainsaw Operation & Rigging in his/her practice.
IPA should also be constantly advancing himself/herself with the latest research & should build an extensive network with international Arborists for knowledge sharing & personal education. IPA should not be someone relaxing on his/her credentials but rather staying on the edge of learning & advancing continuously. For Court scenario, the IPA should possess the minimum legal skill to present specialist reports to witness the case, & is able to stand up to cross examination by opposite lawyers.
(C) The Requirement
ISA HK/China is stating the following requirements for anyone who wishes to become an IPA in our territory:
1. CA who has re-certified at least once to ascertain his sustainability in the industry.
2. Simultaneously holds the ISA Certified Tree Worker (CTW) credential to ascertain this person has the basic knowledge to climb trees for inspection & work such as design & supervision of pruning & rigging to international standards.
3. Minimum of 3 years of working experience in the arboricultural industry with proven record of producing Arborist Reports in jobs. Able to carry out Rigging work by rigging a 50 kg log from +10m above ground on tree with chainsaw & to lower it diagonally onto ground within 30 minutes.
4. Has attended an international ISA Conference at least once to ascertain networking & global vision in arboriculture.
5. Attaining a minimum level of legal knowledge such as the 'O' level or GCSE in Laws or equivalent, to ascertain this IPA can provide consultation & handle Tree Disputes.
6. Attaining an 'A' level or equivalent in English Language for communication skill, so that this IPA can connect with the international network & is able to deliver professional Arborist Report & representing clients.
Please note all above are current ideas under construction. Any CA can call himself/herself an IPA without distinction in our territory at present. We intend to implement the IPA system in our territory from August 2010 to give 2 years for our CA & CTW to attain the required qualifications to register into an IPA in ISA HK/China. We shall also then advertise & publicise the IPA system in our territory from that time onwards.
We now hope that your enquiry has been entertained & IPA has given you a direction to head for. We always encourage our young to advance themselves to upgrade our profession constantly. On the other hand, please always note that the Arboricultural Profession is a legally sensitive profession & any CA putting down his/her credential is subject to scrutiny by other professionals & Court. Please do take care when you need to use your credential.
Thank you for your enquiry again & we hope you can stay in our profession, & remain long & healthy in it.
Wishing you well for your work,
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. (http://www.isa-arbor.com/)