Friday, June 12, 2009

ISA HK/China --- Incoming Mail (Arborists in Conservation)

*** 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 Ryan,

Thank you for your message & your phone call. ISA HK/China is disclosing your name & e-mail as you have requested, but we are still blurring your mobile no. to avoid you receiving direct reply to put your mind in peace.

In your attached letter & the given newspaper cutting, ISA HK/China is interested to focus on the following areas:

1. The newspaper comments are probably correct that Arborists are not conservationists, because Arborists around the world are known to be Tree Doctors & Tree Detectives primarily. Hardly any internationally renowned Arborists such as Dr. Shigo, Prof. Mattheck, Dr. Smiley & Prof. Harris are known to be conservationists, although among the Arborist Profession, we are all keen Tree Lovers & would not waste a single tree if it deserves retention upon a valid Tree Assessment. We tend to put priority in Public Safety over sentiment when it comes to Tree Retention, because we understand that keeping a Hazardous Tree would be equivalent to planting a Time Bomb, with expensive public funding to be answerable to economic justification in tax payer's money.

2. ISA HK/China is not aware of any overseas Arboricultural Institute offering training in conservation as an Arborist theme subject, & general conservation does not appear to be a domain to be tested in the Certified Arborist (CA) exam in ISA but rather Urban Forestry to be the closest relevant. In the bi-monthly ISA Scientific journal of Arboriculture & Urban Forestry, the popular technical discussions over the years appear to be Tree Assessment, Tree Biology, Tree Biomechanics & Plant Health Care. This appears to be the international trend of Arboriculture in its R & D, & public acknowledgement.

3. After the fatal Tree Failure in Stanley last August, the HK Govt has repeatedly announced comfort to the family of the victim by seriously reviewing the current Tree Practice within Govt Depts. Tree Assessment & Hazard Tree Removal appear to be on top of the list with Public Safety to be the no. 1 concern. On the other hand, planting trees too close & too many may not provide the genuine benefits of trees to a community while possibly inducing hazards, like a nation's economic strength should not be judged by its population but by its GDP. To explain this concept concisely, we attach here the previous Station Mail of 'Big Spreading Trees in Hawaii' ( for your interesting study & comparison. With this consideration in mind, ISA HK/China would not shed a tear if the HK Urban Tree Population is to be reduced by half for better root development & canopy coverage, rather than having numerous stems all over the place to squeeze our trees tiny & thin like under-nourished children for the so-called 'Instant Effect'.

4. On the photo showing a Tree Worker operating a Chainsaw without the proper PPE & Chainsaw Chaps in your given newspaper cutting, he did not appear to be anyone of the CA or IPA in our territory that ISA HK/China is aware of. In actual fact, besides the Independent Practicing Arborists (IPA, who are currently busy with Tree Work all over HK, + 95% of our CA are not known by us to be active in operating Chainsaws regularly for any reason in our territory. It would probably be those ' Specialist Contractors' with their ever changeable combination of subcontractor staff running daily chainsaw operation under their own traditional methods to cut trees day in day out everywhere. It would be our advice to place an IPA or equivalent to supervise them for work quality & safety, or Mother Nature makes the Rules for their work.

Thank you again for your incoming mail & your willingness to share it with our Station Members. As you have exposed yourself for reply, please be prepared to receive challenging messages although you have every right to ignore any of them. On the other hand, you may wish to write directly to express your views at the Chief Secretary Office at with copy to the Chief Executive Office at for our current Tree Practice. ISA HK/China has found both Offices are full of friendly people, very inclusive & are willing to listen to public views. Therefore, why not let them know yours?

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."

----- Original Message -----
From: Chiu Kam Wai
To: Eurasian Garden Ltd.
Sent: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 11:48 AM
Subject: ISA HK/China --- 'xxxxxxxx Daily' comment on Arborist

Dear Sammy,

Attachment is my Chinese letter. I deem that there are some comments from ISA HK/China after your review. Please feel free to contact me at 9x4x 8x2x. I will be available after 17:30 today anytime. Thanks for your attention.

Best regards,
Ryan Chiu


本人是國際樹木學會香港分會的會員之一。 我看了近日在報章上的多篇質疑 ISA Certified Arborist 的報導後, 心中有些感想希望可以藉今次機會道出來, 與大家分享一下我對近日報導的想法。 希望是次抒發不會引起任何不必要的爭議, 因為這是我個人的感想吧。

我起初深信在香港, 應該沒有專業人士會質疑國際樹木學會認證的樹藝師吧。 因為國際樹木學會是一個差不多有一百年歷史的國際樹木研究組織, 歷史之久, 無庸致疑。 國際樹木學會的樹藝師在國際上均被認定為城市裏的樹木專家及樹木醫生。 而在數年前, 香港開始有國際樹木學會的分會, 開始認證本地的樹藝師, 我心中想是多麼的光榮。 國際上, 有多達47個先進地區及國家均承認由國際樹木學會認證的樹藝師, 而香港能追隨著那47個先進地區及國家的步伐是一件好事。 不過, 香港的結果令人覺得奇怪, 香港裏的專業人士竟然質疑這個由一百年歷史的樹木組織認證的樹藝師, 真令人費解。

近期, 香港的樹木出現很多問題, 很多塌樹意外常常發生。 因此我們的政務司司長唐英年先生便被任命, 目的是整合香港各個與樹木管理的部門。 而我們卻能在報章上常常看到一些與樹藝師有關的報導, 有些報導指香港的樹藝師沒有能力做好香港的樹木管理工作。 這一點我卻有另一個看法。 眾所周知, 香港樹木出現今天的問題, 不是一朝一夕的。 很多原因是因為起初時的設計錯誤, 導致出現今天的危險樹木。 樹木不能被隨便任意選種, 不是在天橋底下種植喜光的樹木, 不是在路旁小小位置種植楓香, 鳳凰木等巨大樹種。 不過在香港, 情況正正如此。 以前的香港並沒有樹藝師的存在。 錯配, 錯種等等的問題一直存在至今。 既然今天我們政府決心解決這個樹木問題, 為何仍然重蹈數十年前至今的錯誤呢? 現在香港有樹藝師了, 政府不是應該給予樹藝師參與政府的樹木管理工作嗎?
如只任用原班人馬, 再重組一個新部門出來, 不任用樹藝師, 樹木問題不是仍然存在嗎? 這不是重蹈覆轍嗎?

另一方面, 香港的樹藝師均常常被認為是經驗不足, 即使擁有國際認可牌照, 仍不足以在香港管理樹木。 但事實上, 香港有很多樹藝師均是從事了數十年的園藝工作。 單在政府部門裏, 我相信確有一些富經驗的工作人員。 雖然他們在近期才考獲樹藝師牌照, 但他們的數十年經歷, 是不能抹掉的。 相反, 在他們擁有樹藝師牌照後, 加上他們數十年的樹木工作經驗, 更能令他們如虎添翼, 做個稱職的樹藝師。 因為他們不是初出矛籚的 “Fresh Arborist Trainee”, 相反他們卻是政府現時需要的富經驗的樹藝師。

最後, 我想抒發一下我對於本地大學學院安排的樹藝課程。 眾所周知, 樹藝其實是一門獨立的知識。 即使考獲樹藝師牌照, 缺乏經驗的 “Fresh Arborist Trainee” 是未成氣候, 均不能擔當好的樹藝師。 而這個概念正正能套用於我對本地大學學院安排的樹藝課程的意見。 無疑地, 香港的大學教授是受人專敬的。 他們擁有博士學位加上多年的教學經驗, 是香港最尖端的知識分子。 但是, 他們過往是從事教育行業, 還是樹藝行業? 即使各教授們均認識基本的樹藝知識, 但實際的工作經驗不是缺乏嗎? 如果由各大學教授們提供課程給香港的樹藝工作者, 無錯, 學生們是得到了基本知識, 但卻得不到應得的經驗分享。 為何不由富經驗的獨立執業樹藝師, 如國際樹木學會香港分會會長歐永森先生, 等樹藝師教授他們的專業知識呢? 學生們既能得到樹藝知識, 又能從各獨立執業樹藝師上得到豐富經驗分享。 不是更好嗎? 我相信這是香港現時需要做的地方。

我是一個香港市民, 我都抱有香港市民的希望。 希望我們的政務司司長唐英年先生能夠成功改革香港樹木管理的部門, 切切實實地令香港的樹木健康成長。 本人只是希望表達自己的感想, 不是希望引起任何惡性紛爭。 謝。

Ryan Chiu