Monday, May 25, 2009

ISA HK/China --- HK Tree News (Tree Assessment Office)

*** 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,

From the attached media report & the internet news below, it appears that the HK Govt are now seriously considering to set up a Tree Assessment Office (TAO) of some kind to monitor & control Hazard Trees. ISA HK/China regards this as a good move in view of the current financial situation in HK as well as respecting the impact that a general Tree Office may produce among the +10 Govt Depts handling trees at present. We also admire the skills of our Administrative Officers in their policy formulation to be inclusive & thorough, not to be sentimental or biased but sensible & determined, to answer public demand & to satisfy internal need.

On the other hand, the proposed TAO may also serve as a beginning for a general Tree Office later to monitor & control all Tree Affairs in HK from design, installation, maintenance, risk assessment to protection & preservation. Urban Trees can become Time Bombs if not careful & it will be 'Mother Nature makes the Rules' for any Tree Planting. The correct professionals, like Arborists, must be placed in charge of any Tree Affairs, like planting the ' Right Trees in the Right Places.' The abilities of the Arborists are highly regarded by the Govt Seniors to be a scientific discipline, & various Govt Depts are training their own Arborists to supervise their trees.

For a slightly further vision, there may be 3 major areas requiring imminent attention as seen required:

1. LAO Practice Note 7/2007 --- The Tree Design & Tree Assessment sections may require the signature of Arborists to ensure the Right Trees in the Right Places in any design, & unwanted trees are not to be retained or transplanted further to squander public funds. Trees should not be planted too close by too many, & quality trees should be selected for Structure & Health, rather than just 'flowering & scent' alone. Small Tree Pits must not house large trees, & ongoing maintenance must be carefully considered not just for an 'Instant Effect'. Incorrect Tree Planting will lead to expensive maintenance, & the usual outcome of keeping poor quality trees is an eventual removal amidst a built up urban location which can be difficult to operate & extremely costly.

2. ETWB Technical Circular 3/2006 --- Trees must be re-defined in accordance with international practice not to include bananas, bamboos & certain palms. The Compensatory Planting must consider whether the finished area can truly house the replaced trees or not, & Time Bombs must not be created by squeezing in unnecessary numbers just for making up the balanced sheet. Tree Survey should be carried out & signed by Arborists for their professional responsibilities. Tree Pruning should be carried out & supervised on site by qualified Arborists (IPA, or similar) who have Tree Climbing & Chainsaw expertise.

3. Old & Valuable Trees --- The general concept of selection & maintenance for the 500 no. or so OVT's should be revised to keep out hazardous & costly maintained trees. 'Old, big & thick' do not necessarily mean 'good' for keeping a mature tree. Those without hope & potentially hazardous should be taken off the list & newly found worthwhile should be added in for scientific & sentimental reasons. Arborists must be included in the Expert Group for decision to make sure the right trees are selected & kept in a scientific manner.

It appears that if internal secondment has become necessary in setting up the proposed TAO, LCSD Staff would be likely to provide the largest number with their traditional expertise & qualification. ISA HK/China knows a number of good staff in LCSD to be able to take up this job, & we have faith in the HK Govt to make the correct decision.

May the new TAO, if ever inaugurated, truly serve the people of HK to manage our trees in an admirable manner. ISA HK/China will carry on support the HK Govt to make the right decision & throw our support behind the TAO concept whenever desired.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

"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."


2009年5月23日 星期六 06:30








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