Thursday, May 22, 2008

ISA HK/China --- HK Tree News (Bonham Road Church Tree Failure and Mongkok Police Station Topping)

*** 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,

Attached are two sets of recent HK Tree News for your interesting reading:

1. Bonham Road Church Tree Failure

As can be seen from the newspaper cuttings attached, this massive Ficus failed without warning, crushing a passing HKCS minibus & injured two innocent passer-by on 21.5.08 afternoon. As property damage & injuries have incurred in this unfortunate incident, legal action will be likely from the victims, & from Govt since Govt Property is involved, against the tree owner which happened to be a Church.

The Station Manager was actually invited to carry out Tree Inspection for this tree & a few others in the premises nearby on 21.3.07 upon the request of a Station Member who was a member of this Church. Since it was a House of God, the Station Manager had waived the HK$6,000.00 inspection fee laid down by ISA HK/China Professional Fees Guidelines normally charged for a site visit of this kind. Pictures of the tree at that time are attached in this Station Mail for anybody's inspection.

During the examination on 21.3.07, the Station Manager had stated very clearly that this was a Hazard Tree & should be removed immediately to avoid possible failure. However, the Church appeared to await for advices from other ' Tree Experts' & apparently did not accept the comments of the Station Manager for over a year. Then the tree failed tragically on 21.5.08.

In arboriculture, we have a famous saying that ' Mother Nature makes the rules, not any of us.' This incident has proved this sentence, & very sadly on a House of God.

2. Mongkok Police Station Topping

No matter how the public would outcry against Topping which is the next malicious act to tree felling, it would always happen for one reason or another in our territory.

A mature Delonix was topped to beyond recognition in Mongkok Police Station recently, leaving a bare skeleton to stand to possibly decay in time to come. Tree of this age & growing in condition as such would have a hard tome to recover after serious topping. The only fate awaits may be a final removal to be replaced by another tree, if future tree failure is not desired.

It may be also true that no Arborist consultation has been sought before the topping & the contractor might have never been trained to prune a mature tree by any international standard. This would be like asking a meat butcher to operate on human to remove bodily organs. Would any human be same enough to do that? If not, then why on a mature tree? Do trees have no dignity in our society? Trees were Gods in our territory only less than a hundred years ago!

It is unlikely that any penalty would finally be imposed for an event as such, as seen in many other similar or even weighted events in the past (Leung King Estate, Wu Kai Sa YMCA, Nam Cheong Estate, former ETWB office building, etc.) in our territory. HK appears to have the heart to protect our mature trees but with limited strength. If the same thing would happen in Singapore, it may have been a very different story.

The imminent way to protect our mature trees against malpractice such as topping would be requiring an Arborist Report before approving any pruning on a mature tree over a certain size or age. This is the most simple administrative measure & practical way to protect our mature trees. The Arborist should first carry out a detailed Tree Inspection, preferably with Tree Climbing to inspect the tree canopy, & to produce an Arborist Report with legal liabilities to state the reason why a tree is to be pruned, where to prune & how much to prune with what pruning method, with justification. The pruning type should also be stated & site supervision should be provided. Photographic record before & after pruning should be filed for any future Court enquiry or investigation by this Station, should it ever be required, e.g. tree failure after pruning resulting in legal action.

If we want to protect our trees in our territory, Arborists must be involved, or Mother Nature will make the rules. Arborists are Tree Doctors & Tree Detectives. Let them make the judgment, take the responsibilities & also the liabilities.

Is HK ready to truly protect our trees with action rather than with words?

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. (

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ISA HK/China --- 2008 Wind Loading Analysis (WLA) research for Tree Assessment

Please note this Station Mail is split in transmission in two parts to facilitate printing by Station Members to read the attachment.

Dear Station Members,

ISA has recently published the latest Wind Load Analysis (WLA) protocol in Arborist News April 2008 edition for yet another method to carry out Tree Assessment & Pruning currently practised in some parts of Europe. The mathematical formulae & calculations contained may please the engineers in our Station in which we have dozens.

The information given in this article is well beyond the knowledge required for the current Certified Arborist (CA) exam & it is really targeted for serious Tree Assessors with adequate scientific background to understand how to use mathematical tools for detailed analysis. On the other hand, this WLA process has stated very clearly that it can only be used for single, open-grown trees with a single trunk. Most of the ' flowering species' in our territory would fall outside this category & any expert would hesitate to use this method for a lot of decurrent ' flowering' trees planted like dense forest in our territory. This system is also based on the European Standard of Beaufort 12 windspeed, for which most typhoons in our territory would exceed the required windspeed easily in a most situation. The wood property values of a lot of our ' flowering species' are also unknown & not published anywhere at present, & this will leave ground of speculation when this WLA model is to be used.

Internationally speaking, any CA wishing to become a competent Tree Assessor would have to seriously educate himself/herself with profound Tree Biology & Tree Biomechanics before going into this area of practice. The former consists of mostly Tree Pathology & the later Wood Science & Mathematical Models. There are currently very few competent Tree Assessors willing to stand up in Court to testify a Tree Dispute with legal liabilities in our territory. There is indeed much more to learn & develop for a CA to enter into this specialist area of Tree Inspection & Risk Assessment, after obtaining the CA credential which is viewed upon as an entrance ticket to Professional Arboriculture around the world.

It may be perhaps true that over 90% of our Station Members & most of our current CA's reading the attached article may not understand what is going on in there, since not too many of them have been trained with such relevant scientific background. However, this Station wishes to show our territory that Modern Arboriculture is not just all about simple pruning & climbing like some have anticipated. Arboriculture is vast, profound & deep, well worth a life time of studying to not be able to master it all. The attitude of forever learning must persist if an Arborist wishes to stay & do well in this specialist profession, especially if wanting to go into practice. Becoming a CA should be considered a beginning, & not an end to learning.

Arboriculture has been developed as a practical need in western countries over the years & not out of hobby like some sectors of greenery industry. Practising arboriculture as a profession involves legal liabilities much more easily than a lot of landscape disciplines. Facts & reports in arboriculture are frequently challenged in Court & Practicing Arborists must arm themselves for legal challenge at all times. Continuous education appears to be the best defense.

May our territory now respect the Arborist Profession as an unique discipline to serve our society, & would regard Arborists as more than just 'Tree Men' pruning & climbing trees after seeing some of our research.

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. (

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

ISA HK/China --- ISA Australia e-news no. 42

Dear Station Members,

Please find below the latest e-news from ISA Australia about the ISA Asia Pacific Conference & Tree Climbing Championship held in Brisbane last week.

When the current Sichuan Earthquake mourning is coming to a close, ISA HK/China will produce a more detailed account of our participation in the Brisbane Conference with a call for an Informal Dinner to show videos & pictures so taken during the event. Some of the information can be very educational indeed.

Thank you for your kind patience & God bless all those who are working hard to help the victims in Sichuan.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

----- Original Message -----
From: ISAAC E-news
Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 7:29 PM
Subject: ISAAC Enews #42

Visit the ISAAC Website - Now with live tree news from around Australia!If you're not a member of the ISAAC E-news mailing list, you can join it at It's free and you don't have to be a member of ISAAC.

****** BREAKING NEWS ******

ISA Asia Pacific Conference:

The ISA Asia Pacific Conference in Brisbane was a fantastic success. 396 registered participants and 63 ATCC climbers and officials participated in the largest and best arboricultural event ever in the southern hemisphere. The conference received lots of positive feedback, while the Tree Climbing Championships got some excellent coverage on Channel 9 and the Courier Mail, as well as turning up our first ever event winner from Hong Kong. Congratulations to LEE Kai Wang for his triumph in the Head to Head Footlock, as well as ISA Asia Pacific Champions Gerard Reynolds and Chrissie Spence, and Australian Champions Richard Kenyon and Jessica Knott.Apologies for the earlier error - Richard Kenyon is the Australian Men's Champion for 2008.Thanks to our wonderful sponsors, and particularly to all the volunteers, that allowed these events to runs so smoothly.

Passport to prizes:

Congratulations to Paul D'Hondt for winning the ISA Asia Pacific Conference Sponsors' Passport to Prizes. It just goes to show that is worth getting around to all those sponsor tents! Paul will be receiving his Tomtom GPS and $150 ISAAC book voucher in the mail soon. Thanks to all our sponsors for their fantastic support in Brisbane, in particular Platinum Sponsors Active Tree Services and Aerial Access.Remember to forward this to other tree care professionals that may find this useful. ISAAC's Internet policy prohibits spam so please only distribute ISAAC E-news to those with a genuine interest.

ISAAC MembershipMembership of ISAAC links you to the professional world of practicing arborists and tree managers in Australia. As a member you get discounted entry to ISAAC events, discounts on books and business insurance, as well as the locally produced newsletter 'The Bark'. Full ISA Members also get the ISA's publications 'Journal of Arboriculture' and 'Arborist News'. Membership supports the continued growth in professionalism of arboriculture in Australia. Now is the time to join. If you already are a member, now is the time to recruit someone else. You can download a membership form right now -"join online.

If you're looking for great information to pass on to your clients, check out the ISA's new website, Trees Are Good, dedicated to providing tree care information for the general public

Do you have a question or comment? You can send your query online at our If you would like to subscribe or unsubscribe, please see the instructions on our website

Contents of this newsletter are provided for information only and the International Society of Arboriculture, Australia Chapter takes no responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use. ISA, ISAAC and associated logos are for use by members of the ISA and ISAAC only. (c) 2008 International Society of Arboriculture Australia Chapter Ltd. ABN 77 090 873 644.
_______________________________________________enews mailing

Sunday, May 18, 2008

ISA HK/China --- Announcement of CTW exam on July 1, 2008

Dear Station Members,

It is the pleasure of ISA HK/China to announce that an ISA Certified Tree Worker (CTW) Exam will be arranged in our region of HK, Macau, Taiwan & China as follows:

CTW Exam :

Date: Tuesday July 1, 2008

Time: 8 am - 5 pm

Venue: Student Activities Room & Sports Ground, Fung Kai No. 1 Secondary School, 17 Sheung Shui Jockey Club Road, Sheung Shui, Hong Kong

Maximum number of seats : 20 candidates for the written exam, 12 candidates for the climbing skills test, on a first come first served basis.

Deadline of Application : June 6, 2008 (All Candidates MUST apply on-line to ISA HQ at . Those who are re-taking the exam must follow the instructions stated in the ISA exam result letter).

Please kindly note the exam may be cancelled or postponed for unforeseen events such as the hoisting of typhoon signal no. 8 or higher, Black Rainstorm Signal in force, or for any other reason. The candidate can always call the Station Manager at 9090 6719 on the exam day to make sure, if in doubt. Please kindly note ISA exams in the HK/China Region are run by volunteers without pay at their own time & expenses for the benefits of Station Members & public. Please understand their limitation & have pity on them.

For those of you who are not yet ISA HK/China Station Members, we encourage you to join us for update in local tree affairs & ISA activities including exams & training in our region of HK,Macau, Taiwan & China. ISA HK/China organizes activities qualified for CEU after you have become a CA & CTW. CA & CTW are valid for 3 years & all CA/CTW will need to collect enough CEU during this period to renew their credential. Alternatively, you may wish to visit our Blog of or for additional information.

Thank you for your kind attention.

best regards,

Sammy Au
ISA HK/China Station Manager
ISA Chief Proctor for the HK/China Region