Thursday, November 27, 2008

ISA HK/China --- 2008 ISA Brisbane Conference

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Dear Station Members,

This is all but a late report on the 2008 ISA Brisbane Conference held in Australia this May. The original issuance of the report also clashed with the Sizuan Earthquake at the time & the information was then put aside for a while. Then the Stanley Tree Failure caused heavy delay to the preparation of the information which was then scattered & ignored. Therefore, to our Aussie friends who wondered why, we would like to say a big sorry for the late arrival.

The Brisbane Conference was organized with splendid arrangement like any other ISA International Conference with an array of renowned speakers such as Dr Thomas Smiley of Bartlett Tree Research, Dr Brian Kane of University of Massachusetts, Dr Ken James of Melbourne University, Dr Francesco Ferrini of University of Florence, Prof Francis Schwarze of Albert-Ludwigs-Universidad, Switzerland, Dr David Longsdale of UK Forestry Commission, etc. Each belongs to a speciality of his own & the seminars were full of latest research on the relevant subject.

To target the specific needs of our territory, the Station Manager had selectively attended workshops & seminars on Tree Failures, Tree Biomechanics, Wood Decay & Fungal Strategy, Termites & Wood Destroying Insects, Tree Hazards & Assessments, Root Cutting & Tree Stability, Wood Strength Properties of Urban Trees, Veteran Tree Management & Ground Penetrating Radars. All information collected has been beneficial for our development in our territory of HK, Macau, Taiwan & China.

The Station Manager had also taken the opportunity while there to study the Urban Tree Design, Tree Work Equipment & Techniques. All were fascinating & photos were taken as per attached for public viewing & comparison.

Some of the research collected as variant from conventional knowledge are given below:

1. Small drill holes would attract more decay than bigger holes due to favourable growing condition preferred by fungi. Therefore, drill bigger holes so that oxygen can get in to impede the development of Heart Rot Fungi. This findings may affect those of us in choosing micro-drill for wood resistance in Decay Detection. An ordinary electric drill may actually do the tree less harm. (Schwarze)

2. Trees produces polyphoenolic deposits via tyloses to resist fungal spread. (Schwarze)

3. Fungi attack Cambium Zone to initiate the formation of Barrier Zone. Do not damage this zone by any drilling or boring device. Diagnostic drilling will cause irreversible fungal attack in this zone. (Schwarze)

4. Rejection of the t/R ratio <0.3 = Hazard (Schwarze)

5. Only when Cambium is damaged, Wall 4 Barrier Zone will be produced. (Schwarze)

6. Why CODIT does not work sometimes --- Sugars in tree can not be turned into defense if temp < 10C. Fungi can attack tree cells during dormancy period. (Schwarze)

7. Keep all root cuts beyond dripline --- > 5 x DBH is safest, 3 x DBH is as close as you can get. (Smiley)

8. Risk of Root Failure --- Critical if +50% roots with significant decay or decay is uphill or at opposite lean. High if +33%. Moderate if <33%. +15% rot in root is considered significant decay.(Smiley)

9. Risk assessment is based on risk awareness, not risk diversion. (Lonsdale)

10. Under UK laws, it may be an offence if a failed tree is removed before all evidence is gathered for legal proceedings. (Lonsdale)

11. In a legal pursuit, the competence of the Tree Inspector, method of assessment, timing, record, policy & instruction of work, can all be challenged in Court in UK. (Lonsdale)

ISA HK/China will be attending the 2008 IPM China in two day's time & this will be the kind of knowledge we shall bring up to the Chinese. We shall be telling the Chinese that Tree Work is a specialist subject which should be handled by trained professionals such as Arborists, & not by common landscapers & construction workers. We shall tell them that Chainsaws are dangerous & would require licensing for use in western countries. We shall tell them Tree Climbing is the only way to carry out proper pruning for many trees but not lifting platform alone. We shall also ask them whether China would prefer to stay in the Third World forever when it comes to Tree Work.

ISA HK/China has now made the attendance of ISA International Conference at least once to be a mandatory requirement to become an Independent Practicing Arborist (IPA) ( in our territory. This is meant to push the IPA candidate to meet the world & learn by comparison while networking with advanced Arborists in other countries. ISA conferences are known to be highly educational & condensed with latest research as seen again & again in previous reports.

IPM will be in two days for us. ISA HK/China is all geared up to train our Chinese brothers & sisters with our IPA, CA & CTW. Armed with apparently more advanced knowledge & experience, what shall we face?

We shall be telling you in two day's time.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

"Trees are good for the community. Trees need care like human beings. Arborists are the Tree Care Professionals."

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