Monday, June 28, 2010

ISA HK/China --- HK Tree News (Tree Failure at HK Govt HQ)

国内朋友请使用翻译软件阅读本文 (。
*** 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,

The attached news below from the biggest newspaper in HK with 3.5 million readers is shocking the Tree Community in our territory of HK, Macau, Taiwan & China. Tree Affairs are now made political for the first time anywhere in our territory, & Tree Failure has become an Achilles Foot for any Govt, because trees will grow to fail by Mother Nature. In Urban setting, trees simply have a shorter life.

Sometimes, ISA HK/China compares Tree Failure to a plane crash. When a plane comes down to make headline, do the investigators focus alone upon the maintenance of the plane? Apparently not. The inquiry would turn over the carpet from design, operation to maintenance, among many other things. Remember in the 1970's when plane engines were designed to attach to the rear for fuel economy & ease of maintenance? After a few plane crashes due to imbalanced weight during take-off, aircraft manufacturers corrected their design to fix the engines under wings. The same idea should go for our Tree Failures.

Planting a big Ficus in a small planter next to busy traffic does not appear to fit the "Right Tree for the Right Place" principle of ISA Tree Planting. Then who put it there in the first place? Or was the tree retained there from past? What's the justification? Does it comply with international practice? If not, why did it not go? This is the first thing we can learn in this accident.

After the tree was left there growing, why was it not removed if found unfit? Does the maintenance party alone have the authority to make such a decision? If not, why not? Was there any political pressure? Where from? Can it be overcome? This may be the second point we can learn.

Putting a big tree in a small planter on the roadside invites risks. Yet our territory is full of trees like this. Can anybody explain why with justification?

Trees have now become Hot Potatoes among the Tree Managers in our territory. Most would be afraid to work with trees, partly because of the public exposure they bring when failed. Yet it is impossible to stop tree failing & no Arborist in the world would say his tree will not fail after his assessment. Tree Assessment is only accurate up to a point with or without machines, & to a certain time frame from the moment of assessment. The more experienced assessor may predict longer, but not forever. Tree grows to alter its stability & health in reaction with the environment, & no one has a crystal ball to foretell what Mother nature can bring.

Then how can we work with our trees, which are now an important asset in our society? We simply can not cut them all down for safety sake. We need trees in our cities.

Maybe we can look at how our neighbors are doing the same for their trees.

The Landscape Bureaus in China design & maintain their trees from cradle to grave in the billions for decades. The same is true for the National Parks Board of Singapore which manage more than 1.3 million trees in their urban area. Tree design, installation & maintenance are all under one roof by their Arborists or equivalent. When things go wrong like a Tree Failure, they would find out why & correct it next time before new trees are installed. Mistakes are gradually minimized in this manner. Trees are such important infra-structure in their cities that no one is going to take any chance.

The result is that we do not hear as much tree complaint in these places. We have eyes & ears over there too.

When each Dept can design & maintain their own trees from beginning to end, the demarcation & responsibilities become very clear. If anyone would take chance on something, he may be caught with his own liabilities at the end. This will make anyone think twice before acting. When "Music Chair" is no longer played, everyone will need to do his own job well, or trouble will find its way to come to him at the end. Getting one to be responsible for his own work is a matter of simple logic in a civilized society, & what's wrong to apply it to trees?

When every Dept is looking after their trees from cradle to grave, the Tree Management Office can then act as a coordinator, & provide the logistics & support required. This will make life easier for everybody. When Tree Failure happens, the cause can be traced & improvement can be made for the next time.

As for the administration, nothing needs to change much either. Any Dept can carry on their old way, or allow resources to employ Arborists to look after their trees. The public will look at the end results, not the internal procedures. A pilot scheme can be started to see if the idea would work. If so, expand & spread. The final objective is to reduce accidents & complaints. Let it be done with the resources currently available with minimum disturbance.

History in western municipalities have told us that urban trees need to be on the hand of the Arborists from cradle to grave, to thrive. If not, it will be Mother Nature makes the Rules, not any of us.

Incidentally, ISA HK/China is pleased to inform our Station Members that China has now set their eyes on ISA for their Tree Development. ISA HQ staff have been invited to attend an urban forestry conference in Beijing this August, & ISA HK/China is working hard at the other end with Landscape Engineers in Southern China to recognize ISA Arborists to be their only Tree Professionals in design & maintenance. When China heats up, HK may lose some of our experienced Arborists for greener pasture up north.

HK is just one city in our territory although it is an important one. We wish to see HK doing well with their trees, & we will help them with one Arborist & one tree at a time.

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."

總部也冧樹 港府顏面掃地




樹枝擊中頭部 浴血街頭














冧樹害人禍連連 最好扑醒唐英年