Dear Station Members,
Below & attached are two sets of recent news concerning our local trees in the media:
(A) Contracting out Tree Inspection Work
The media has been asking for opinions among landscape professionals on contracting out Tree Inspection & Risk Assessment in HK. Some are in favour & some have reservation which is all natural in a free speech society.
The essence of the discussion really rests with the reliability & sustainability of contracting out the work, & how the work is going to be carried out & by whom. The HK Govt has by tradition employed many consultants in the engineering & planning field, & ISA HK/China has every confidence that our Govt has the ability to issue the right direction & requirement for contracting out Tree Work, if it ever becomes necessary.
There should also be a grading system as to which level of Tree Inspection is to be carried out by what level of expertise. For example, if the public untrained in arboriculture is to be invited to carry out elementary Tree Inspection work, then what should the see & report? The next level may be the Certified Arborist (CA) who are tested by 200 multiple choice questions only to become Certified. Then should they be asked to inspect trees which would require Tree Climbing for canopy defects? Should we decide on a size of a tree to be inspected for CA & beyond for a higher level like the Independent Practicing Arborist (IPA) who has a better experience & reliability?
For a detailed Risk Assessment on a mature tree, the Tree Assessor would need to be familiar with subjects like Tree Biology, Tree Biomechanics, & Tree Work like Structural Pruning, Cabling & Bracing, Decay Detection Methods, etc. Tree Climbing is frequently necessary to inspect structural faults in canopy & the Tree Assessor must have keen observation & experience in the body language of a mature tree. ISA HK/China would recommend training in advanced Tree Biology of Dr. Alex Shigo & Biomechanics by Prof Mattheck as a basic start in carrying out this kind of work, & it appears that all these are way beyond the testing requirement in the current CA exam.
It is therefore apparent that different level of expertise would be necessary to do different level of work, & every level should really take part to form a complete service to help our trees. Trees nowadays are public properties & they are regarded as permanent structures in our city, like lamp posts & traffic lights. Public participation would also encourage our public to protect trees & public resentment would be quelled once they have learned that trees are living creatures just like human beings. Trees do need care. ISA HK/China encourages public involvement in Tree Care & sees this is a way to better protect & preserve our valuable trees.
(B) Public Comment on Tree Work
This message is given in the attachment in Chinese from a local newspaper. ISA HK/China is only interested in the technical part for the discussion & not anything else.
ISA HK/China agrees with the Expert's opinion which is underlined in the message that to understand tree health, the inspector has to touch trees rather than photos alone. Tree Climbing may be necessary at times if canopy problem is suspected, e.g. decay & cracks. Tree Pruning has always been a complicated subject under intensive study at ISA all around the world. Pruning to a tree is like surgery to a human. Once any tree part is removed, it can not be nailed or glued back, & the tree will develop responsive growth to try to recover the lost part.
Another important consideration in proper pruning is the Wind Loading on a tree after pruning & in future growth. It appeared in our territory that a lot of trees failed its parts after pruning, not after installation. If the pruning creates large wound which can not be successfully compartmentalized by a tree lacking vigour, the decay would develop inside to spread to the root crown & topple the tree in wind. In the opinion of ISA HK/China, what trees have suffered most in our territory is from bad pruning, yet proper pruning would require the knowledge of Tree Biology & Wind Mechanics which are beyond the knowledge of common landscape workers. Pruning is much more than cutting at the right angle from Brach Bark Ridge to Branch Collar, but on why, where & how much to remove with what.
Tree Work is specialist skills known around the western world. Even in Britain among the many British Tree Experts discussed with the Station Manager in ISA meetings & communication, Tree Work over there is usually handled by their Arboricultural Officers who are trained & experienced Arborists. If HK is to carry proper tree care, this may be the general direction we suppose. We respect that our LCSD has the most number & experienced Arborists & best equipment in our Govt to carry out Tree Care. It would be good if LCSD may wish to help out on that.
"Trees are good for the community. Trees need care like human beings. Arborists are the Tree Care Professionals."