Thursday, April 2, 2009

ISA HK/China --- HK Tree News (Arborists are 'Tree Technicians'??

*** 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,

Below is a piece of local news sent in by Station Members with regard to the image of the Arborist Profession in HK. ISA HK/China is trying to tone down our response in this Station Mail not to invite international uproar, since Station Mail is read nowadays in the Pacific Rim, Europe & America by the thousands.

The discussion in Blue below was describing the Certified Arborists (CA) not as any 'expert' in Tree Care. CA's were compared to 'Tree Technicians', lacking what an 'expert' would understand as 'professional knowledge'. The CA's were further taken as lacking the abilities of a 'Tree Doctor' to diagnose ailing trees.

This is the first time that ISA HK/China has heard criticism on our CA system anywhere in the world, & sadly this has happened in HK where ISA HK/China is based. It would be even more hurting if this would come out from someone who has an ISA Membership.

May we first look into how a CA is 'produced' in ISA before anyone would make any further comments. In accordance with the Entry Qualification of the CA exam, the candidate has to fulfill the following requirements:

" Examination Eligibility Requirement

The ISA Certification Board requires candidates to have a minimum of three years of full-time experience in arboriculture. Acceptable experience includes the practical use of knowledge involved in pruning, fertilization, installation and establishment, diagnosis and treatment of tree problems, cabling and bracing, climbing, or other services that directly relate to arboriculture. Examples of experience sources include, but are not limited to,

• tree care companies • utility personnel
• nursery personnel • instructors of arboriculture/horticulture
• landscape personnel • horticultural/Extension advisors
• municipalities • consulting arborists
• state forestry personnel • pest control advisors/applicators

The eligibility requirement also may be satisfied with a two-year degree in arboriculture and two years of practical experience or a four-year degree in a related field and one year of practical experience. If you are self-employed or own your own company, you will be required to submit three letters of references with your application. References may be in the form of copies of invoices, contracts and/or business license. Please contact ISA for other possible forms of verification. "

The application procedure has clearly screened out those who are not related to the profession or not trained relevantly for Tree Care. Any falsification in the application will lead to removal of the credential anytime before or after the exam. The Chief Proctor has the authority to carry out such investigation.

The CA exam is in the form of 200 multiple choice, in which 10 Tree Samples are given for identification. The average international passing rate of the CA exam is around 25% at present. It is very low when compared to most Professional Exams in HK for Engineers, Architects, Lawyers & Doctors.

After getting the CA credential, it is only valid for 3 years. The CA has to collect 30 Continuous Education Units (CEU) by self-study within this period for re-certification, or he/she will have to re-take the exam.

On the working side, it is a fact that the CA's in HK are not active in Arborist Services such as Tree Selection, Tree Installation, Tree Inspection, Risk Assessment, Pruning Supervision, Construction Protection, etc. like their overseas counterparts, partly due to our landscaping system not demanding CA for this kind of service in the past. However, those who do work as a Practicing Arborist like the Station Manger (SM), would produce quality services to international requirements. One of such incident is attached for public viewing in here & the SM himself has inspected & assessed hundreds of trees alone in the past 12 months in Govt & private sector in HK.

Arborists around the world are known as Tree Doctors & Tree Detectives. Not quoting work from other CA's in HK without their permission but his own, the SM has stood up as Expert Witness in Court, carried out Pruning Supervision on site, assessed OVT's & delivered various Arboricultural Training locally & overseas. If this does not qualify a CA to be a genuine Tree Professional, then what does?

Those who would call CA's as 'Tree Technicians' may not actually understand the requirements, training & experience of how to become a CA. There are now +22,000 CA in +30 countries around the world & CA is a respected profession in 47 countries. There is a CA exam given every 18 hours anywhere in the world right now. The popularity of the CA credential has spoken for itself & the world would not be as foolish to keep on pursuing something of no value.

In his conferences & travel for ISA commitment, the SM has met prominent CA's like Prof Ed Gilman of University of Florida, Prof Bill fountain of University of Kentucky, Prof Brian Kane of University of Massachusetts, Prof Frank Schwarz of University of Switzerland, Prof Ken James of University of Melbourne, & many others.... All these Professors were very proud of their CA credential every time.

Furthermore, the trees in Singapore are looked after well by their +150 CA's in the National Parks Board (Nparks). We in HK admire the trees in Singapore all the time. It is a known fact that their CA's would look after their trees from design, installation, maintenance, inspection to protection as genuine Tree Professionals.

Would we now not appreciate the abilities & contribution of the CA as Tree Experts to care for our trees? Would great Professors & senior Govt Officials around the world join the rank of CA because it is a 'Technician' quality?

May the HK public understand the CA profession better & let those who would regard CA's as 'Tree Technicians' to come sit for the CA exam just for once, to find out whether such claim can be truly justified.

best regards,

Sammy Au
ISA HK/China Station Manager
ISA Chief Proctor for the HK/China Region of HK, Macau, Taiwan & China

"If a tree is not designed, installed, maintained & inspected properly, it is likely to become a liability rather than an asset."

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

要使古樹不再殺人 須健全樹木醫護制度

(明報)4月1日 星期三 05:10

【明報專訊】政府高調回應赤柱 刺桐塌下壓死港大女生的死因研訊結果,由行政長官 委派政務司 長唐英年 成立專責小組,檢視管理樹木工作。這次塌樹殺人,顯示康文署 對於樹木安危的評估,已經使人失去信心,關鍵在於康文署並無樹木專家,而該署卻不肯面對這個現實,終致發生塌樹殺人慘劇。專責小組一定要解決這個問題,配合人才培訓,才有可能使樹木成為香港人的朋友,而非殺人兇手。

有足夠知識診斷病樹? 樹木組表現證明不及格





康文署無夠資格樹木專家,並非始於今日或塌樹之日,過去沒有,現在也沒有。問題是塌古樹危機也非始於今日,2007年九龍公園 一棵細葉榕「樹王」,曾發生大部分樹身塌下,猶幸未造成傷亡,當時輿論和專家已經質疑樹木組人員缺乏專業知識,本港部分古樹的安全度引起關注。不過康文署並未正視缺乏樹木專家的問題,以今次聆訊為例,還花錢特別從加拿大 請來樹木專家,提供對康文署有利的口供。聆訊結果令康文署的企圖未能得逞,但是該署的頑固做法於此可見一斑。

護理人員並無醫生功能 樹藝師無醫樹專業資格

近年本港保育意識高漲,保育除了要與社區發展尋求平衡,還涉及安全,保育古樹就碰到這個問題。九龍公園細葉榕「樹王」因為未傷人,安全問題未引起足夠關注,到赤柱刺桐塌下殺人後,政府才高調回應。事態進展,顯示負責保育古樹的康文署樹木組人員,與其工作所需要專業知識,存在落差。不少古樹就在市民身邊,特別是彌敦道尖沙嘴 段和栢麗大道的古樹,設若它們有病而未為所知,他朝不幸重演赤柱刺桐殺人事故,就為時晚矣!




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