Trees – Their Beauty and Our Need to Protect Them


My love and deep respect for trees and nature, in general, have been mentioned on numerous occasions on these pages. During the past few months, there have been incidents involving trees in urban areas falling, injuring people and causing damage. As a result of these accidents, in various parts of the territory trees are being examined, and in some cases, destroyed as it has been found that their root systems are not strong enough to support their weight.

A few of my articles on trees may be found here, here and here.

A Press Report

Following is an excerpt from an article which appeared in the South China Morning Post, “14-metre-tall Chinese banyan tree in Hong Kong collapses near sitting-out area, but no pedestrians were harmed”.  The full article may be seen here.


The Chinese banyan collapsed at Luen Wan Street in Mong Kok on Tuesday morning. Photo: Sam Tsang
The Chinese banyan collapsed at Luen Wan Street in Mong Kok on Tuesday morning. Photo: Sam Tsang

A 14-metre-tall Chinese banyan listed as one of Hong Kong’s “old and valuable trees” since 2004 toppled near the Mong Kok East railway station on Tuesday, breaking a lamp post in the process.

The accident, which followed the collapse of a branch that killed a villager in Tai Po last week, was “the exemplar” representing authorities’ years-long tree mismanagement problem, according to an expert.

The tree in the latest accident had a crown spread of 25 metres. It collapsed onto the Luen Wan Street pavement in Mong Kok soon after 9am, according to police. The site is just a stone’s throw away from a sitting-out area.

A police spokeswoman said the tree hit and broke a lamp post, but no pedestrians were hit. She said the section of the road was closed to traffic and firefighters were called in to remove the tree.

The Reality

While I appreciate the need to ensure the safety of lives and property, I have seen trees being destroyed simply because of the convenience of a nearby residence.

For example, in the village where I live a tree that was estimated to have been 50-years-old, was destroyed simply because some of the branches were touching the upper floor windows. It could have been an easy matter to have trimmed the branches, but in their desire for selfish convenience, they called in a contractor and down came the tree.

This is happening all over the territory.

The Beauty we are Destroying

This tree offered a safe haven to some birds

This tree was partially destroyed but refused to give up
Lam Tsuen’s most famous Banyan, the Wishing Tree – an example of how right-minded people can save trees

More information on the Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree may be found here.

This tree, which may be seen at the Old Taipo Police Station, is older than the building it shelters
…and the destruction

These trees, the oldest of which was around 20 years, were destroyed so that the owner of the property could extend his wall. He could have done so quite easily without the wanton destruction

I will never put the safety of people over that of a tree. Having said that, I wish people would think twice about taking a chain saw to something that was a sapling when we were still learning to walk!

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Published by stewartgoeswalkies

Happily married man to a wonderful lady. Living in Hong Kong. In my younger days I enjoyed hiking, camping and rock climbing. I've trekked in the Himalayas and climbed Mt. Kinabalu in East Malaysia.

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