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城市森林不是這樣的

2018/7/18 — 13:01

圖片來源:長春社

圖片來源:長春社

2017 年初,發展局綠化、園境及樹木管理組成立了城市林務諮詢小組,把樹木管理提升到城市森林管理的層面。究竟城市森林是什麼?

城市森林包括城市及其邊陲地帶中(不包括郊區林木)所有政府丶私人、種植或自然長出的樹木。樹木管理以維持個別樹木狀況和風險管理為本,便達到基本目標。而城市森林管理不但全面,更著重維持城市森林在環境丶社會和經濟上的可持續功能及效益,並非常重視全民參與及公開透明。

可是,現時政府提倡的城市森林管理並沒有清楚交代整套計劃,而只抽取一些相關的理念,如增加城市生態,更新生命週期快要完結並已開始衰退老化的樹木,以至傾向不保留生長在不太合適的環境下的樹木,當中包括古樹名木及石牆樹。我們憂慮政府所說的城市森林只是不願投放資源和心力去處理現時樹木管理問題的手段,因而推銷移除再種這最便捷的「管理」模式。 

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事實上,若根據英美的城市森林管理模式,城市森林管理首重科學化的管理,當中包括樹木辦測試多時也仍未成功的樹木資料庫。只有清楚知道管理樹木的數字和狀況,才能主動安排足夠的資源來作管理。否則,就只能以現時救火的被動方式進行管理。

此外,城市森林管理極之著重主動推廣樹木和城市森林的重要性,及以公開透明的原則讓全民參與其籌劃、制訂、管理和監察工作。可惜的是,樹木辦近年的工作越來越低調,市民大眾不知其工作,也無從參與和評論。這與城市森林管理公開透明的原則背道而馳。

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最後,要樹和城市森林的好處能夠持續,就必須要讓樹木好好的生存下去。近年的樹木管理工作,仍是以風險管理為本,就連古樹名木和石牆樹等珍貴資源也是以風險管理的角度去看待。樹木風險降低不一定等於樹木狀況良好或改善。相反,大多風險緩減工作都是以大幅修剪為主要手段。又如 5 月 20 日地政總署在未進行深入評估及一片爭議聲中,便草草以樹木生長位置不理想和有倒塌風險為由,把香港大學外兩棵 80 多歲的細葉榕斬掉。城市森林不是口號,也不是逃避樹木管理責任的擋箭牌,更重要的是要專重市民的知情權和參與,才能稱得上真正的城市森林管理。

 

如想了解更多甚麼是「城市森林」,請到長春社 Facebook 專頁

Urban Forestry

In early 2017, the Expert Panel on Tree Management under the Greening, Landscaping and Tree Management Section (GLTMS) of Development Bureau was elevated to Urban Forest Advisory Panel. But what is an urban forest? 

“Urban forest” includes all naturally grown or planted trees in urban or urban fringe areas, no matter they are on public or private lands. Tree management is mainly focusing on individual or small group of trees’ conditions and risk management. Whereas urban forestry (or urban forest management) is holistic and emphasizes on the sustainability benefit and efficiency of the urban forest to environmental, social and economic aspects, as well as public participation and transparency. 

Nevertheless, the Government has not explained and elaborated the urban forest management plan in details so far, but only extracts some related concepts, such as enhancing urban ecology, replacement of trees over their useful life-spans and replacing aging trees, including old and valuable and stone wall trees. It is worrying that all these will become the excuse for not deploying sufficient resources on the management of existing trees, but to promote the removal, which is the easiest “management” mean.

In fact, according to the urban forest management plan in UK and US, it is highly emphasizing on scientific management, including the tree inventory. It is the first stage and most important basis to provide information for budget and work plan to achieve the proactive management. However, the inventory in Hong Kong, Tree Management Information system, has not been working successfully. As a result, the Government can only adopt the reactive fire-fighting style on tree management. 

In addition, urban forestry put the promotion on the benefits of the urban forest and transparently involves the public to design, plan, manage and monitor the implementation of the works. Disappointingly, the work of Tree Management Office becomes a very low profile in recent years, and the general public has no idea about their works. It actually violates and walks to the opposite direction of proper urban forest management. 

Lastly, to achieve the aim of providing sustainable benefits from the urban forest, it is necessary to maintain trees in good conditions. In recent years, the tree management objective is still risk management oriented. Even for old and valuables trees and stone wall trees were also mainly managed in purely risk reduction manners. Reducing risk of trees is not necessarily improving tree conditions. In contracts, common mitigation works, such as severe pruning is very damaging to both tree heath and structure in the longer term. On 20th May, two 80 years old Banyan trees outside the University of Hong Kong were removed by Lands Department under great public queries, with reasons like the trees growing on wrong places and with high risk. However, such decision was lack of scientifically sound inspection and evidence to support.

Urban forestry is not a slogan, or an excuse to alleviate the works to policy level for avoiding the administrative risk of daily tree management works. Respecting the right to know and public participation are the core elements to be the true urban forest management.

 

If you want to know more about what is urban forestry, you can visit CA’s link

 

原文摘自《長春社 2017-2018 年報:城市森林》

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