Monday, April 11, 2011

ISA HK/China --- Writing Arborist Report 撰写树艺报告

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Dear Station Members,

ISA HK/China frequently receives complaints upon our local Arborist Reports in HK from various clients. Issues include poor English, irrelevant information, inaccurate description & lack of clear decision. Clients complain that they have difficulties in making judgment after reading such a report, & would regard it as unprofessional as compared to other disciplines.

It is true that the Certified Arborist (CA) exam does not test for English report-writing. This appears to belong to the following reasons:

1. The CA exam was originally developed in North America & candidates there would use English as their mother tongue. Somehow if a report is required, the CA there can write something out that is understandable in their own language.

2. Arborists in western countries would do all kind of Arborist work from design, selection, maintenance, inspection, protection to risk assessment. Writing up detailed technical report like those frequently demanded by Govt Depts in HK, would belong to specialists like the Consulting Arborists (, who are trained to address such issue with good communication & technical skills.

In our territory, Arborist work is lob-sided to Tree Risk Assessment (TRA) due to political influence. Whereas quantitative TRA is done by filling in forms for quick assessment, there are times where Govt Dept would require special focus on trees pending detailed investigation. There are also cases where trees have been damaged or interfered under public attention. The client would then like to obtain specific information on the extent of damage/interference, & make a decision on the next move. For this kind of work, a common Tree Survey or Ecological Assessment report will fall short of what the client is looking for, & would not help them to make a justified decision.

Whereas the CA exam came to our territory, it made the same assumption that all our candidates can use English in their daily life. This is certainly too much to ask for, as a lot of our local candidates may read English well, but not to speak or write it the same, since Cantonese is the mother tongue in HK. Also after 1997, many politicians have encouraged using Cantonese as the common language even in Legco. English more or less remains for business/administration writing, & there is a trend that it is getting stereotypic as seen in many of the daily communication issued everywhere.

ISA HK/China has not seen by now a good Arborist Report with many pages of description written to international standard in HK. Most of the time, the report structure is confusing; the language used is full of errors; the observation is unclear without justification; & the conclusion is unconvincing. All there is appears to be nice packaging of pages after pages of irrelevant information, which can drown the reader into boredom & confusion. Such a report can be easily challenged at Court.

It is also noticed in a lot of the Arborist Reports which mention that they are written to the "Practicing Standards" of ISA. ISA is a research & education organization. It does not produce "Practicing Standards". Any CA who puts this in may have impeached the Code of Ethics of Certified Arborist, & may be subject to investigation by ISA Cert Dept.

Many people have been respecting our newly emerged Arborist Profession partly out of respect for the prestigious organization of ISA. If our local Arborists do not upgrade themselves in their performance, the respect may not last forever. ISA HK/China will collaborate with Govt Depts & public to eliminate poor quality work, & will not fight to be there by status. ISA HK/China will insist on quality work. After all, HK is just one city out of hundreds in our territory of HK, Macau, Taiwan & China. Why should we protect the HK Arborists alone for bad work?

ISA HK/China has set up a Qualified Arborist credential (QA,  to elevate our performance locally. One of the focus is report-writing in its requirement. The QA credential is also modeled after the Registered Consulting Arborist (RCA,  requirements, although in a much junior level. At least Technical Writing is not demanded in the QA. ISA HK/China regards our QA can write a basic Arborist Report of some sense. Clients should demand QA to give them readable Arborist Reports in future.

ISA HK/China will try to deliver 3 session of ISA Tree Seminars to introduce "Technical Writing" to our Station Members later on. A mere 3 session will not instantly qualify an Arborist to write international report. However, it will help.

ISA HK/China will relentlessly upgrade our Arborist Profession locally, one tree & one Arborist at a time.

best regards,

Sammy Au
President / Station Manager
Registered Consulting Arborist no. RCA#497 (
ISA Board Certified Master Arborist / Certified Tree Worker no. HK-0174BT (
Independent Practicing Arborist no. IPA-010908 (

"Providing treatment without in-depth diagnosis & research support is professional misconduct. "

"Casual tree assessor delivers wanton tree assessment. Mother Nature makes the rules."



事实上,"注册树艺师" 考试并不测试撰写英语报告, 主要基于下列原因:


2. 树艺师在西方国家是负责全面的树艺工作,包括设计、选种、维护、检查、保护及风险评估。 香港政府部门也经常要求写作详细的技术报告,这些工作应该由一些专科人员, 例如 “顾问树艺师”(去担当, 而并非由一般 “注册树艺师”去担任,因为 “顾问树艺师”们接受过另类培训,拥有特殊的沟通能力及和技能。

由于政治影响,香港树艺师的工作侧重于树木 “风险评估”。 大部份的评估是通过填写某些简单表格快速做出的。 然而有些时候,政府部门是需要更加详尽的树木报告。还有一些情况下,树木的损坏及干扰是受到公众关注。客人有时候也需要取得具体的资料,去了解树木是受到何等程度的破坏或干扰,才能决定下一步的行动。在这样的大前提下,一个普通的 “树木统查’ 或 “生态评估”报告并不能够提供足够的资料帮助客人来做出合理的决定。

当 “注册树艺师”考试来到香港的时候,它假设了所有考生是在日常生活环境中使用英语的。但这显然是不恰当的假设,虽然大部份本地考生可以阅读英语,但他們说讲和书写英语的能力并不高,因为自从一九九七年开始,粤语已变成为香港的母语。一九九七年后,许多政治家都鼓励使用粤语为共通语言,即使在立法会会议亦是如此。尽管在商业/管理写作上仍然仃留使用英语,但在日常沟通上, 英语的使用已经渐趋公式化, 而树艺报告倒是千变万化。

本分会直到现在还没有看过一个达到国际水平的本地树艺报告。大部分时间,报告的结构是混乱的,所用的语言充满了错误,观察往往是不明确, 或是理由不充份,结论亦往往也是不能令人信服。包装报告往往在不错的页面设计及不相关的资讯下,令读者感到混淆及困惑。这样的报告是很容易地在法院被提出质疑的。

我们亦注意到在很多的树艺师报告中提及报告是符合ISA的“执行标准”。 然而,ISA是一个研究和教育机构,它并不制定“执行标准“。任何树艺师把这个不遵守 “注册树艺师”道德标准的字句加入报告内,可能会受到的ISA发牌部门的调查

许多人都尊重我们这新出现的树艺师专业, 部分是出于尊重我们这个国际权威组织ISA。但是,如果本地树艺师不保障自己的专业表现,这种尊重不可能永远持续下去。本分会将与政府部门及公众合作,消除质量差的树艺工作,以及不断地向前进步。本分会将坚持贡献高质量的树艺工作及把持专业态度。毕竟,香港只是在中华地区数百个城市的其中一个。我们为什么要特別关照香港能力低下的树艺师, 而损害整体利益?

本分会已成立了一个 “认可树艺师” 的认证制度 (QA , ) ,以提升我们的本地水平。要成为 QA, 其中一个重点是报告的撰写。 “认可树艺师” 的认证是仿照 “顾问树艺师”(RCA, www.asca- 的要求,但仃留在较初级的水平, 亦不要求懂得“技术写作”。本分会认为我们的 “认可格树艺师” 是可以撰写有一定意义的基本树艺报告。客人亦可在未来要求聘用 “认可树艺师” 去提供可读的树艺师报告。

本分会在不久将来会提供三节讲座,向本会会员介绍 “技术写作”。短短三次讲座将不会立即令本地树艺师写出国际水平的报告。但是,它会有所帮助。



国际树木学会中国地区分会 会长

顾问树艺师号 RCA#497 (
资深树艺师 / 注册攀树师号 HK-0174BT (
执业树艺师号 IPA-010908 (



(以上由莊俊榮 注册树艺师 /市政树艺师号 HK-0009AM 翻绎。一切内容以英文版本为准。)


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