Thursday, July 12, 2007

ISA HK/China --- Arrival of Station Logo

Dear All,

It is the utmost pleasure of this Station to announce that a Station Logo which is the 'Kathy Ng & Derek Chong 3' in the attachment, has been chosen by the CA Family today after voting for the use of ISA HQ & our future correspondences until further notice. Please kindly note 'Kathy Ng & Derek Chong 3 & 4' are actually identical.

This Station wishes to thank Kathy Ng & Derek Chong for all their hard work in submitting several designs for the consideration of the CA Family.

Please also note all other entries are given in the attachment for the judgement of our now 390 no. of Station Members & overseas partners. This Station remains open to accept any future design proposals because this is the way to improved ourselves. Please therefore do not become shy to forward your comments which will be past to the CA Family for discussion.

Now with the Station Logo, this Station is moving one step closer to the eventual set-up of the ISA HK/China Chapter. This Station has been designed as a testing ground for our future Chapter owing to its virtual existence & flexibility at present. The experienced gained in our Station will become the backbone of our Chapter later. All we need now are more enthusiasm & participation from our Station Members.

Our Station is now 2.5 years old & has made tremendous advances in our development with a correct attitude & contribution to our society. We have been seen as a breath of fresh air in the landscape industry with Integrity, Professionalism & Participation in our community. We shall carry on in this manner to help our trees & our people relentlessly.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

ISA HK/China --- China Tree News (Manufacture of Mature Trees & Tree Pruning Competition)

*** 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.***

Dear Station Members,

Attached are 2 set of news extracted from a China National Newspaper, one of which is truly shocking to the Arborist World.

1. Tree Pruning 'Competition' in Beijing

Never known in the Arborist World in advanced nations, some 60 landscapers from parks, landscape schools & research institutes in Beijing took part in a ' Tree Pruning Competition' recently, for demonstrating the 'Education & Standards' of the candidates of these organizations to celebrate the coming 2008 Olympic Games in China.

The Competition was divided into a written test & a practical test to ascertain the candidates for their abilities in mastering Tree Pruning. A winner was elected for his excellence in work.

This Station is never aware of any similar competition of this nature anywhere in the Arborist world. Although the knowledge of Tree Pruning maybe able to be tested in a written exam, but how it can be compared in a practical cutting session would intrigue even the most experienced Arborists in the world.

In order to be tested fairly in any competition by international standards, the competitors are required to enter into a race of equal opportunity at the same level, e.g. in a 100 m sprint, every athlete will run 100 m at the same time on the same track. When it comes to trees, it is almost impossible to find a group of trees to be tested belonging to the same dimension & same geometry. If not the diameters of the branches are different, the branching arrangement & taper will be different. To compete on unequal trees will be like competing to shaving fruits but some are shaving apple & some on pineapple. How do we decide a winner for this ?

Our brother & sister up north constantly invented ideas completely out of this world, but some of us in HK have become their dedicated followers. We really wonder why?

2. Manufacturing 'Mature Trees' with 'Young Trees' to ease market demand

This innovation is absolutely shocking to the Arborist World anywhere on this planet !!

In order to ease market demand for Mature Trees all over China, some genius in China have invented a method to manufacture Mature Trees from Young Trees. They are also applying for a National Patent in China for this 'exceptional' invention.

The method is simple. Two or more seedlings of 2 cm -3 cm will be stripped off the bark & be bundled together to form a bigger tree. The contacting surfaces will be disinfected & secured for fixed attachment. The new combined seedlings will be grown under normal maintenance for 3 to 5 years & then a new 'Mature Tree' will be formed. The inventors claimed that they have had success in production this way for species like Osmanthus, Lagerstroemia & Podocarpus, & over 5,000 of them are already successfully grown. It is also said that the manufactured 'Mature Trees' will have a higher aesthetic value than naturally grown trees. They would have a higher transplantation success because they have more fibrous roots. The inventors also claimed that buyers from all over China are rushing to placed orders because Mature Trees are becoming short in demand nowadays ...

From a scientific point of view, the description of the above manufacturing process seems to imitate that of Grafting which is commonly used in fruit tree production. Whereas in Grafting a scion will be inserted into a mother stock to form a union, the Chinese method is simply forcing the cambiums together to hopefully fuse a union to form one single tree. Even if successful, this process is not known scientifically to produce a strong attachment between the stems, because the union will not have the weaving effect of a normal branch attachment & may split by weight of the foliage in wind & rain later on. It may be seen as just another expression of 'Included Bark', although without bark.

Another query this Station would have is how to prevent the decay development among the wounds in the bundle even by disinfection. World research has shown that no chemicals can eradicate decay development in a tree permanently & the tree can only compartmentalize the wound, if successful. Our brothers & sisters up North are completely overturning international research in this aspect & claimed that they can achieve normal growth by bark stripping. Would it mean China has finally led the world in Arbor research for once ??

About 2 years ago, a Mainland Chinese gentleman somehow became a Professor in an US University & had invited two of his fellow friends who were both Professors working in the Dept of Forestry in Beijing, to apply to ISA HQ for starting up an ISA Chapter in China. Our Station at that time was young & not as influential as now, & we invited these Professors to communicate with us for a joint approach. We wrote to them but have never received any reply from any of them whatsoever. It may have been a good thing for us to hear nothing from them so that we could carry on the ISA way independently to now without their participation. Now our Station covers Mainland China as our territory besides Macau, & Taiwan. We are ready for an approach into China anytime when our regional partners are ready to go with us.

China is indeed full of surprises to shock the world in Arboriculture. No wonder we have followers of them in HK because some of their innovation are indeed 'exceptional'.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

Monday, July 9, 2007

ISA HK/China --- Recreational Tree Climbing in Taiwan

Dear Station Members,

Just when some of us may feel to be the lucky few Tree Climbers in the HK/China Region, this Station has recently learned that at least 1,000 no. of recreational Tree Climbers have already been trained up in Taiwan in the past 1.5 years !! For confirmation, please kindly browse into the following websites:

1. Taiwan Times newspaper report ---
2. Taiwan Tree Climbing ---

To this Station, training up over 1,000 Tree Climbers within such a short time is truly an amazing feat. In HK, Tree Climbing is not something encouraged by our Govt & there is no official Tree Climbing training open to public anywhere in our Govt facilities. The average age of our Govt Tree Climbers is currently over 40 (AFCD & LCSD) & it is an offence to climb any tree in our public parks by law in HK. Platform truck & ladder are thought to be able to replace tree climbing for tree work, & Tree Climbers are regarded more like performing acrobats just for fun & show.

The Taiwan Tree Climbing website contains excellent information on the benefit & FAQ of recreational Tree Climbing. It is interesting to learn how many intellectuals & children are learning to climb. Several universities in Taiwan now have their own Tree Climbing Team & wildlife observation at canopy level is a popular event. The website also gives clarification on the myths & fear about getting up high on a tree & who can climb or not. It reported even 90 year old are climbing in the USA ! So, those of you who say 'can't climb', think again.

Tree Climbing has always been a lure in the beginning & an addiction at the end. Every tree has a different geometry & every tree is a challenge to climb. Tree Climbing requires physique, concentration, dedication & determination, such are all good qualities in training our younger generation. Recreational Tree Climbing has always been a favourite past time for Professional Tree Climbers local & overseas. The Station Manager trains the Fung Kai Climbers just for fun without money. Tree Climbing is a fascinating experience & those who have tried would have to agree.

This Staton has been calling the Taiwanese Tree Climbers & are waiting for their reply. By linking up with one another, maybe in the near future, we can cross to each other's land by the short one hour flight, for the mutual benefit & interest of both sides.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

PS: Those of you who wish to try Tree climbing, please come to attend the Climbing Jamboree Family Day at Fung Kai School on Saturday afternoon of 20 Jan., 2007 !! A Tree Climbing demonstration is being requested at the North District Flower Show at Fanling Park from 23 - 26 Dec., 2006. Getting permission from LCSD is now the key, although the organizing committee has already verbally agreed.

ISA HK/China --- Training future Tree Climbers for HK

Dear All,

It is the pleasure & privilege of this Station, with the kind help & guidance of Arbor Global LLC of Hawaii, to be able to train a group of young boys & girls of the Fung Kai No.1 Secondary School to become Recreational Tree Climbers for school activities & public functions in HK. These young boys & girls are aged between 15 - 17 years old & they can truly climb like monkeys. On once speed assessment, the best climbing boy could climb a height of 25 ft & then limb walked 15 ft or so, all in 37 seconds!! This is 3 times the speed of the undersigned who was panting like a dying patient after the race. They are truly magnificent & are in the prime time of their life.

Since these young boys & girls were trained to be Recreational Tree Climbers only, all they have learned were basic climbing skills without rope advancement, redirect, double crotching & pruning. However, if these students were to become working climbers, the necessary training would be really minimal & easy, since they have already mastered the basic skills required.

These students will perform their first Show Climb on 7 July publically in Fung Kai School for the School Speech Day. A free VCD will be produced by the School & issued on request to anyone who is interested to view the event. The Fung Kai Climbing Team will also look forward to any Tree Climbing Contest to be organized by this Station or anywhere else, against experienced tree climbers form Govt & Private organizations in the near future. Who knows one day they may fly the flag for HK in an International Tree Climbing Contest?

The Fung Kai Climbing Team has produced a VCD of their current climbing activities which can be obtained free of charge on demand to anyone who is interested to see their boys & girls in action. Please kindly contact their Head Teacher Mr. CY Chow at for details. Also, anyone who wishes to book these young boys & girls for employment after their graduation in Summer 2007 is also advised to contact Mr. CY Chow for arrangement.

Anyone who wishes to learn Basic Climbing Technique (BTC) is advised to join the BTC training so organized by Arbor Global LLC of Hawaii as per the attached e-mail.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

ISA HK/China --- The Singapore Experience (Episode 3)

***Station Mail is for the information of Station Members only. Comments from outsiders are usually not entertained.***

Dear Station Members,

As promised, the Station Manager is issuing the report of the April 2007 Study Tour to Singapore within a week. There were primarily three major events that our Station has the reason to organize this visit to Singapore:

1. The chainsaw & horticultural machinery training at Outboard Marine Ltd in Singapore
2. The Regional Arboricultural Seminar organized by the National Parks Board of the Singapore Govt (Nparks)
3. The Inauguration of the Centre for Urban Greenery & Ecology (CUGE) of the Singapore Govt

There were altogether 6 participants joining this Study Tour. We have returned with knowledge & bonding with our regional partners.

Similar to all our previous reports, this report was written with factual & objective observations. Some of the contents may be challengeable & we shall leave the discussion to our Station Members, local & overseas by now. Constructive view points to be given by Station Members will be issued on public Station Mail through the Station Manager.

This report, like all others, was written with simplicity & efficiency. Enquiry for details on any part of the report can be made to the Station Manager individually.

(A) Outboard Marine Training

As shown in the diagrams given in the attachment, chainsaws were taken apart & put back again for diagnosis. The training provided here has been different from common chainsaw training & emphasized on the mechanical assembly & tuning the chainsaw into an efficient cutting tool. Comparison of different brands of chainsaws were provided, with detailed analysis on their advantages & disadvantages.

Many a times when a chainsaw breaks down on site, staff time is wasted & repair costs time & money. On the other hand, most chainsaw suppliers in HK do not provide adequate support on parts & technical advice on repair. Very few chainsaw suppliers could actually work on a tree with a chainsaw themselves. Imagine a car dealer who can't drive... Most of the time they would simply tell the customers to buy a new one for commercial reason.

There are also some interesting points learned from Outboard Marine during the training session :

1. Singapore now runs a Grade 1 to Grade 5 at their CIDB which is a regulatory body of the Govt to endorse works skill. It was learned that there are approx. 270 CIDB registered landscape contractors employing something like 3,000 workers in the landscape maintenance business at present. Landscape contracts now given by Nparks are all Direct Contract without a middle party like construction contractor for better control of quality of work.

2. Landscape contractors would receive bonus if they perform their work ahead of time & in excellence, something we used to practice in HK during our construction boom in the 1980's.

3. Outboard Marine, the largest horticultural equipment supplier serving something like 70% of the Singapore market, would provide free of charge Basic Chainsaw Training to the buyer on how to use & maintain the chainsaws after purchase. This is part of the after-sale service that is valued highly by the buyers in Singapore.

4. Because trees in Singapore practically would not stop growing any time of the year, tree pruning is big business for the landscape industry over there. Nparks require all their trees to be structurally pruned & therefore chainsaw operation has become a definite requirement. Outboard Marine alone would sell something like 400 chainsaws every year of different sizes & brands. Outboard Marine reckoned Nparks would spend close to HK$ 500,000,000 in their landscape maintenance contracts every year.

(B) Regional Arboricultural Seminar at CUGE

This is the first ever Regional Arboricultural Seminar in Asia organized by Nparks & participated by ISA organization of Singapore, Malaysia, Australia New Zealand (NZ) & HK/China. Among all the participants, Malaysia was the youngest but most acutely positive. Details given below would show that Malaysia is likely to take over HK in arbor development very soon with their strong Govt support & active civilian participation.

Altogether around 110 persons from 5 different countries joined the Seminar. Most of the participants were CA in her own country & actively joined the Seminar for regional exchange. Being on home ground, Singapore sent out nearly 90 CA to the Seminar, with Malaysia 7 no., Australia 2 no., NZ 1 no. & HK/China 1 no. Exchange on information & comparison between countries were the greatest benefit seen by the Station Manager in this Seminar. Only by standing on an international platform, one would know where his/her country would compare. Our Station has learned a great deal during the comparison indeed.

Though nothing spectacular to tell anybody about our HK trees, the Station Manager has been wrongly favoured by the Singaporean media to carry out interviews with the major English & Chinese newspaper there, plus a TV interview in English & Mandarin about our participation. The Station Manager only wished that he could promote the HK Tourism Board there too. We shall definitely love to see more Singaporean visitors coming to HK besides all the Mainlanders.

The first day of the Seminar began with technical presentation on decay detecting devices like Resistograph, Picus Sonic Detection, Tree Radar, etc. by Fujimura Europe Ltd. One disadvantage amongst all these devices is that they can only propose the extent of the decay or show where the roots are underground, but could not determine whether the inspected tree would fail or not. The data collected has still to be analyzed by the arborist to determine the tree stability. Some of the equipment would also require great skill to calibrate & operate, whereas interpreting the results involves great skills. Some of the participants simply told the Station Manager that they would prefer to continue with their hammer & drill, since they were old dogs & were shy to learn further. Isn't the world becoming more & more complicated everyday?

The first day afternoon went on with equipment demonstration on the mature trees inside the world famous Singapore Botanic Garden & it was an interesting event to watch. Despite heavy rain, the event went on with enthusiasm & many photo taking. The rain might have dampened the equipment but not the heart of the participants. All went on with efficiency & success.

The second day morning was a demonstration of the world smallest Wood Chipper made by Komatsu which was self propelling & reasonably quite. If HK would ever accept Wood Chipper at all, this Komatsu model seemed to be an acceptable choice. It was good enough to chip up to 8 inch diameter log & the wood chip would come in several sizes adjustable by scale. Best of all, it was self propelling & could go up a 15 degree slope, something fit enough for forest pruning on rugged ground. The noise was not ear drum hurting. It sounded like 90 dB only & comparable with a 14 inch chainsaw. However, the price of nearly HK$200,000 per unit would fend off a lot of buyers from HK, where they could throw the cut logs into Govt dumps instead at an insignificant cost. That's the tale of the two cities...

The second day afternoon began the important presentations from different countries & encouraging news was given by the ISA President-elect in his keynote address. ISA has now penetrated the Asia Pacific Region with success with Singapore taking the determined lead, followed by Australia, NZ & Malaysia. ISA is now the single & most influential arbor organization in all these countries. It was also worthwhile to note that the European Arboricultural Council has now recognized ISA CA to be their acceptable standard of practice & ISA CA credential is interchangeable with the EAC equivalent. That would mean our CA in HK now can fly over to Europe anytime & join their practice. This is fantastic news indeed for all those who desire to be there, since over 2 million HK residents now are holding foreign passports of one kind or another. As for the Station Manager himself, he would prefer first to polish his French, German & Dutch before entry. Otherwise, 'legumme' in French may become 'legume' in English...

Some highlights presented by the individual countries were noted as follows:

1. ISA Australia

a. ISA is now the biggest arbor organization in Australia with over 500 members after the collapse of the Australian Arboricultural Association (AAA) some years ago. There are still some fractional arbor groups here & there but they are not expected to last long.

b. Australia has its own National Standards called TAFE in practicing arboriculture & consists of Level 1 to 5 like in Singapore mentioned above. ISA credentials are a bonus to many & are popularly sought after by candidates for international status.

c. ISA Australia influences heavily on arbor policies & safety standards in Australia, & would attend board meetings & conferences on technical matters organized by the states.

d. ISA Australia is growing with promising strength & is expected to absorb all other local arbor groups gradually.

e. ISA Australia will organize an ISA Asia Pacific Arbor Conference in May 2008 in sunny Brisbane & would invite representatives from the Asia Pacific Rim to attend.

2. ISA Malaysia

a. Malaysia has a Dept of National Landscape since 1995 to look after their Greenery System like Singapore. Malaysia intends to 'green' at least 50% of the land mass as a national policy. Their Prime Minister has given positive backing to the Greenery System in Malaysia. Tree Protection Order is practised.

b. Rather like HK at present, Malaysia Govt has no position for City Forester or Urban Arborist in the Dept of National Landscape but is seriously working to set one up. Malaysian landscaping system has been traditionally occupied by landscape architects & horticulturists but individual landscape units have now begun to employ arborists for tree care. Govt administration has treasured the value of trees & would regard trees to be their national asset to be looked after by experts like arborists.

c. ISA Malaysia has been invited by the Govt to develop their national standards for arboricultural practices. Nursery Standards & Tree Management Standards are being studied. Particular attention has been paid to Tree Selection at the design process to avoid future liabilities. Rather like Singapore, Malaysian arborists do not just blindly go for flowers in the tree selection, but rather would consider the overall structure & health in designing their trees. Pruning Standard is being developed in Malaysia & Risk Assessment is following that of ISA. Malaysia is positive to follow ISA Standards in their national arbor practices, & is seen to be rather determined to catch up with Singapore.

d. Malaysia does not have many professional tree climbers at present & does not have even one no. of ISA Certified Tree Worker (CTW). However, ISA Malaysia has taken steps to begin training their CTW possibly with invited overseas trainers from Australia or through CUGE. Topping is the popular pruning method in Malaysia at present but ISA Malaysia is working with their Govt to forbid this damaging practice. The Malaysian Govt has been most receptive & cooperating with ISA Malaysia, all in favour to protect their valuable trees.

e. ISA Malaysia has organized two CA exams in Malaysia already in Jan 07 & Mar 07. The passing rate has been 23 out of 30 & 10 out of 18 respectively. So there are at least 33 CA in Malaysia by now as compared to 21 CA at present in HK.

f. Our Station Mail has been circulated to relevant Govt system in Malaysia & has been well recepted. Malaysia is keen to collaborate with regional partners to upgrade their Greenery System & is positive to connect to the world. ISA Malaysia suggested to organize an ASEAN Arboricultural Conference to share our information on tree care among the tropical/subtropical countries. Would HK be invited?

3. ISA New Zealand

a. The arborist profession ranks high in priorities in NZ immigration requirement since NZ is short of qualified arborist at present.

b. ISA NZ was formed in 1978 & their first meeting was held in a local chapel without funding & support. ISA NZ was meeting heavy resistance from other landscape professions to be an outcast for some years. Now ISA NZ is the largest arbor organization in NZ & influences heavily on national standards & practice in their country.

c. NZ has a National Certificate in Arboriculture (NCA) as a National Standard of practice in tree care & NCA is aligning with the ISA CA training in principles & training. NCA candidates would normally take their CA after getting NCA & there are currently around 45 CA in NZ only. ISA CA is regarded as a prestigious credential in NZ.

d. There are now 3 Code of Practice for arboricultural work in NZ all developed by ISA NZ & the relevant statutory bodies. NZ has not had one single case of arbor fatality in their national history as recorded, which is something the Kiwis can be very proud of indeed.

4. ISA Singapore

a. Nparks has over 900 species & 1.3 million trees in their Tree Inventory in Singapore at present. Over 1 million of their trees are managed under the GIS system. Regular Tree Inspection is scheduled for all 1.3 million trees at 12 months, 18 months & 24 months intervals. Structural Pruning is practised right after DLP in project work. Singapore has over 40 years of experience in their Tree Management Program already. Trees are regarded as the backbone of the Singapore Garden City & Singaporeans are extremely proud of their trees.

b. Nparks emphasises on science-based tree care & has started upon Failure Analysis & field-based research on species susceptible to structural failure. Survey has begun for wood strength with Fractometer to test fracture strength, fracture angle & fracture moment (MPa) for various species. Post mortem on failed trees is carried out for educational purposes in Singapore, which is something we would like to have in HK. Failed trees in HK are usually quickly removed by construction contractors for obstruction. Swietenia macrophylla (available in ETF now) has been identified to be a tree with good strength & good timber, something we might need in HK against our yearly typhoons.

c. Nparks now has 95 CA working for them in their Greenery System as Civil Servants, out of the total 125 CA practising in Singapore. CUGE is now churning out dozens of CA every year for the Govt & private sectors in Singapore, & Singapore has been taking the lead in producing CA in the region. Nparks is now encouraging their contractors to be trained in the ISA CA program to upgrade their working standard. Risk Assessment for Trees is now a standard requirement in Nparks' Tree Management Contracts.

(C) CUGE Inauguration

The Centre for Urban Greenery & Ecology, or CUGE in short, is jointly established by the National Parks Board & the Singapore Workforce Development Agency. CUGE has a critical mass of knowledge to share & advanced expertise in Urban Greenery & Ecology. CUGE provides professional skills training programs for all levels of professionals & is a national training institution of the Landscape Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) system. CUGE serves as a regional repository of best practices to advance urban & green living environment.

CUGE has the vision to be a Regional Centre for advancing & sharing knowledge in the use of Greenery & Ecology to enhance urban living environment. Two major types of training programs are currently available:

a. WSQ System --- works skills training for landscape operators at the worker & supervisor level
b. Professional Certifications --- designed for landscape professionals & recognized as National Standards. Training includes Landscaping Practices, ISA Certified Arborist (CA) Program, & Certified Practising Horticulturist Program

Through their training programs, CUGE will upgrade the standard of practice for the landscape profession in Singapore. The Station Manager has not wasted the opportunity to request CUGE to consider intakes from HK, & it was said that our participation will be warmly welcomed.

(D) Conclusion

As can be seen in the events experienced in this Study Tour, all our regional counterparts are positively surging ahead in developing their local tree care practices. Everyone of them is actively involved with their Govt in determining arbor standards in safety & practice. They are all like rising sun. ISA Malaysia seems to be at a similar starting point to ISA HK/China at present but our Station admires the resources & Govt backing that ISA Malaysia is getting to the point of sour grapes, when compared to our own. We expect ISA Malaysia to do well in the race in the near future.

The value of this Regional Arboricultural Conference has been in the exchange of information between different countries. By comparing with each other, our Station has found out where we stand, although much of the future development in HK will be outside our control. If HK is to have any chance in matching with others in practising arboriculture, we really have to pull up our socks. For all those who do not agree, please come with the Station Manager to the ISA International Conference in Hawaii & see for themselves. What's good is it to compare ourselves only inward & northwards, but not to look east, south & west ??

On the other hand, our Station is truly grateful for the warm reception given by Nparks & their staff during this Study Tour. Newspaper & TV interviews were organized by Nparks to show their hospitalities for us. HK has been a shining Pearl of the East for years. Would we also shine for our trees ?

Every one of ISA Conferences has been full of education & knowledge. No beer or sumptuous seafood was served in any part of the Study Tour. In fact, the Station Manager was staying in a no-star hotel with funny cries at 4am in the morning. The flight was also the cheapest available, bumpy at times. Nevertheless, we have returned with valuable news & information. Doesn't it really all depend on what one is going to a conference for?

Would anyone care to join us for the ISA International Conference in Hawaii this July?

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

ISA HK/China --- The Singapore Experience (Episode 2)

*** Station Mail is for the information of Station Members only. Comments from non-Station Members will not be entertained.***
Dear Station Members,

Thank you for your patience to await this important Singapore Study Tour Report of Dec 16 - 19, 2006. To keep it simple & concise, there are 4 major areas of investigation to focus on this report:

(A) Feedback on the Certified Arborist (CA) training at the National Parks Board of the Singapore Govt (Nparks) & future Arborist training programs at Nparks for beginners & CEU
(B) Impression of the first-ever Equatorial Flower Show, the Singapore Garden Festival (SGF)
(C) The myths behind the success of the Greenery Program in Singapore
(D) The role of CA in Singapore

Each subject of discussion can be a sensitive issue. As Station Mail is circulated in several countries & pirated in China nowadays, the Station Manager is under pressure to present this report with his best abilities in accuracy, but would not be complacent in claiming this report as a perfect description of what is going on. This report is supposed to be factual & objective, with the observation of the Station Manager of the events in situ. Readers please do excuse the Station Manager for his incompetence & unintended mistakes.

(A) Feedback on the CA Training & future Arbor Programs at Nparks

When the 2 week CA program was initiated back in Sep 06, there were complaints all over the Station for it being too long. Most of the CA trainees said the same thing before departure & the Station Manger was under pressure to advise Nparks to shorten it to just 7 days.

But, to the surprise of even the Station Manager, every candidate he met reported to him that the 2 week CA program was not long enough !! Some said 3 weeks or longer would be a better arrangement. Some said the CA exam should be delayed or be taken in HK afterwards instead of right after the training. So, why ?

The CA candidates at Nparks were trained by specialists in their own field for each individual domain. They were not just confined in the classroom to study power point but were taken to laboratories & field to have hands-on experience. For Tree Biology, they were taken to the forest to study tropical trees in situ. For Climbing & Safety, each candidate was required to wear full PPE & body-thrust to a side branch for limb walking. The students were shown Pruning in action with chainsaws & they were shown nasty diseases & pests in the laboratories. They met experienced Practicing Arborists in their work site & they were guided round the world-famous Singapore Botanical Garden for various topics. 14 days would definitely not be enough for all these. That's why the students wanted longer.

Maybe a month is better for such complete training if we need well trained CA for HK. Maybe we think we can provide the same at home but do we have a world-class Botanical Garden like Singapore with so many Arboricultural experts? Do we have their well maintained trees & healthy attitude towards trees? Would our local candidates have the same determination to learn as hard as those who have paid & travelled to Singapore? Would not our local candidates develop a 'territorial instinct' if the learning is given at home instead? Could they develop bonding with overseas counterparts by staying at home?

An Evaluation Form provided by the CA candidates & comments from some of the candidates are attached for the judgment of our Station Members. Both have reflected the success of this program. The Station Manager felt that he has not wasted his time to organize the Nparks training & HK needs a complete program for our future Practicing Arborists. HK would need the best & we always aim for the best.

So said all the nice words but those who have not been there may doubt. HK seems to prefer the fast food culture when it comes to collecting credentials & this attitude has been made clear to Nparks for their future training arrangement for us. In summary, this Station has asked Nparks to split the future CA training program into two parts. The first part of 7 days will be a fundamental program for anyone who has limited knowledge in Arboriculture (Pre-CA Program). Practically anyone from HK is recommended to attend this, no matter how good they think they really are as discovered in the last CA training. Then the proper CA Program of another 7 days will be given to anyone who has, or has not, joined the Pre-CA Program. Exam at the end of the training will be optional. It can be taken right after the CA Program or be taken at the regular intervals of every April/Oct in HK. The candidate will have to state clearly on this option before joining. The Station Manager would actually encourage the exam to be taken in HK for better revision time, as suggested by the last lot of CA trainees.

Besides the CA Program, this Station has also been fighting for our Station Members to join the general Arbor training sessions of Nparks designed for their local candidates. Most of these programs will carry CEU for our CA/CTW, & they will be open to any of our Station Members with or without experience in Arboriculture. Participants from other ASEAN countries may be present. Programs will include Basic Tree Climbing, Chainsaw Uses, Diagnosis & Treatment, Tree Mechanics, Fungal Diseases in Trees & many others. It is to the understanding of this Station that Nparks will arrange international experts, & not just Commonwealth experts, to lead these programs. It will be a great opportunity for our HK candidates to obtain world class knowledge in these sessions. The opportunities will be announced in Station Mail when received.

(B) The Singapore Garden Festival (SGF)

In the opinion of the Station Manager, the SGF is beyond the level of appreciation of our common HK citizens who are used to browsing annuals & herbs in our own flower shows. SGF is much more sophisticated than that. It is designed for the inspection of landscape professionals. It is like the Director's choice for a movie & commoners may be lost.

International gardening experts competed with each other in presenting their best in this excellent show. Every minute detail was attended to in an imagination seemingly fit for the masters. The visitors would have to study & analyze what the designers was trying to put forward in an intrinsic thinking beyond what was visually observed. This is the depth of the SGF & that 's why it is worth seeing.

There was one drawback in the SGF & that would be it was indoor. The camera flashlight of the Station Manager was not powerful enough to capture brightly for a lot of the scenery & only the legible ones are presented in this report. It was said that the next SGF may be held outdoor & rain/sun shelters will be provided. This Station is looking forward to that.

During the SGF, the Station Manager was given an outline of the landscape design of the famous 'Gardens by the Bay' in Singapore, which is similar to our Water Front Development in Central District of HK Island as below:

Maybe our Station Members would like to take a peek at the design requirement as compared to ours. Singapore provides an arena for international gladiators to knock out each other with their best, & then the winner will be scrutinized by the Practitioners (not Designers) to ensure the design will work. Maybe this is the secret of success in their landscape.

(C) The Success of the Greenery Program in Singapore

The Station Manager has been deep-probing into Nparks' CEO & Directors to the point of annoyance, to try to discover why Singapore is so successful in their Greenery Program as compared to our own HK. Nparks is the leading agency in driving the Singapore Greenery Program with limited budget & only around 800 staff to manage 300 parks, all streetscape & natural reserves, & most development projects; as compared to our AFCD (Country Parks & natural reserves), LCSD (Urban landscape), Architectural Services Dept (Development projects), Housing Dept, Highways Dept, CEDD (Govt engineering works), DSD (Drainage works), Planning Dept & a string of other committees & appointed agencies. Singapore is now a renowned Garden City in the world & can we call our HK anywhere near that? Are we spending less money or with fewer experts in our many Dept & agencies in our Greenery Program, & are we getting our investment worth?

In simple terms, the Station Manager has been told by Nparks that the Greenery Program in Singapore is Practitioner Driven. Nparks by tradition has been led by Foresters, Arborists & Horticulturists up to this moment. Designers like the Landscape Architects (LA) have been playing only supportive role all the way. Any design by LA in Singapore will be subjected to scrutiny by the Practitioners like the CA & Certified Horticulturist (CH) before execution. If the CA & CH do not find the design working, it will be sent back to the drawing board for revision.

For instance, the Master Landscape Plan (MLP) of a development project in Singapore will be reviewed by a panel of judges at the Parks & Trees Regulatory Section (PTRS) of Nparks for approval. The Board Members of the PTRS consist of CA, CH & Administrators only, & no LA. Yes, the Station Manager asked the same question twice, & he was told both times that the PTRS consists of no LA !! Our LA in HK will scream blue murder to this practice, but this is how the Greenery Program in Singapore works & it is apparently working with great success.

In a way, Singapore would ask the Captain to steer the boat, & not the boat designer. In HK, the boat designer will steer the boat & the Captain will only be called in when needed. We are Designer Driven.

This may be the ultimate secret of success of the Greenery Program in Singapore when compared to ours in simple terms. There are obviously Departmental interest & other factors to consider but this will be the same in Singapore. Any Govt in the world will have red tapes. But from the overall perspectives, the Greenery Program in Singapore, driven by Practitioners & led by a single agency (Nparks), has earned world reputation with a smaller budget & much fewer manpower than ours. Would this not be something that our administrators need to compare & advance upon??

This Station has also been told that the street trees in Singapore are given regular Tree Inspection & regular Structural Pruning, usually once or twice a year, to avoid developing potential hazard. This will be like regular medical check-up of a middle aged person & prevention is better than cure. Would this not be something that HK can copy about in view of our typhoon attacks?

(D) Role of CA in Singapore

It is now a Contract Requirement to employ CA in any Govt Maintenance Project in Singapore for supervision & execution. It is also a strong recommendation by Govt agencies to employ CA in landscape contract or MLP submission in any development in Singapore. If a CA is not involved in any major development in the planning, submission, execution & maintenance processes, it is more or less bound to run into brick wall everywhere with Nparks. Singapore is Practitioner Driven & designs are enforced to work.

The Greenery in Singapore is led by Nparks & Nparks is led primarily by CA. CA is recognized as the major Practitioner & is given the status & respect it deserves. On the other hand, Singaporean CA have been diligently working Singapore's Greenery to a world standard appraised by the international community. CA there work in harmony with other contributors of the landscape industry & contract dispute is far less uncommon when compared to our own. Everywhere the Station Manager saw were smiling faces in project sites & resentment was hardly recognized or felt as much. Could this be the magic of the Practitioner Driven program so chosen by Singapore?

Singapore has 125 CA by Dec 2006 & we have only 13 CA in HK by this time. There will be a few more joining after the exam results are announced from the last training at Nparks.

To conclude, at an expense of HK$3,800 ($2300 airfare + $1000 hotel(3 nights) + $500 sundries, US$1 = HK$7.8)), this Station has achieved its goals of assessing the CA training, visiting the SGF, unravelling the mystery of success of the Greenery Program in Singapore & determining the role of CA in Singapore, within a designated time frame of only 3 working days. This Station has also promoted relationship with Nparks like good neighbours with deeper understanding on both sides. Some say HK competes with Singapore in many areas but this Station would say we can at least collaborate for Arboriculture & Greenery. After all, competition is healthy & are we afraid to compete for HK?

Let's now all of us move forwards.

best regards,

Sammy Au
ISA HK/China Station Manager
ISA Chief Proctor for the HK/China Region
ISA Certified Arborist / Certified Tree Worker (Climber Specialist) no. ML-0174A

ISA HK/China --- The Singapore Experience (Episode 1)

Dear All,

As per promised before, this Station has the duty to submit a brief report on our visit to the National Park Board (Npark) of the Singapore Govt from 5 - 8 Feb., & what a wonderful experience it has been. I am sure all participants are still suffering from the hangover of this beautiful country & all have broadened our knowledge in landscaping & arboriculture of which Npark has so honestly & enthusiastically provided to us.

This report is trying to gather memories & impression of key events & information during our visit. I am sure every participant will have something to add if you see each one of them. Therefore, please do not forget to come to our next ISA activity so that you may learn something this report has missed out or carelessly recorded during our hectic three day event in Singapore.

All in all, my personal impression of the visit is that Npark was taking the HK arborists very seriously & had given us the respect & protocol to more than we would deserve. We must not forget that HK arboriculturte is still in its infant stage & we could feel Npark is lending us a helping hand with its expertise & resources to develop our own. The 3 day programme was packed with seminars, site visits & discussions. There was a frank exchange of views between the two sides & we have found Npark officers very skillful & knowledgeable in their fields. Those of you who have learned about Singaporeans from our media should go on our next trip to Singapore to see for yourselves whether what you have been told are really factual. I am sure your image of this advancing country may need re-orientation after you have met with their officers & see development there with your own eyes.

To gather from fragmented memories, we shall begin as follow:

1. Npark's role in the landscape industries in Singapore

Npark is the leading govt agency to coordinate all landscape related industries in Singapore. More detailed information about Npark's role & activities can be obtained through the website . Npark is directly under the Ministry of National Development which in turn is under the Prime Minister Office. This means Npark, in reality, can have convenient access to the highest decision body in the country which we HK counterparts can only dream & hope for. The past & current attitude in the Singapore Govt have always been supportive in developing the landscape industries there. The orientation of ' Garden City' was conceived in the 1960's by the P.M. Office & by now, Npark has been taking leadership in executing this process all the way.

In Singapore, Npark has the duty to review all tree work in any development project so submitted to the Ministry of National Development for approval. Npark has the right to refuse approval if the tree design or preservation is not up to their requirements in the land under their juridiction, & will give recommendation if outside their control. The attitude of Npark is to educate & set examples for the public, & would only use legal or administrative measures if persuasion fails. For a country with limited land resource which is constantly under fierce competition from various deparments, Npark has done a very good job on maintaining their role.

The area of Singapore is about 682 sq. km with just over 4 million residents & it has over 300 parks & 40 Regional Parks for Npark to maintain. Yet Npark only has a staff of around 800 personnels to carry out all these work on a daily basis. This is about 2.7 personnels per park! Npark has now approx. 1,300 species of trees to look after as compared with about only 5 species in 20 years ago. There are about 830,000 no. of Roadside Trees & about 1.3 million trees under record in Npark at present. 300 species are classified as common species & 50% as exotic. Any tree spcies not exceeding 15 no. in quantity is calssified as Rare Species. 90% of the palm species in Singpore are introduced species. Trees are marked under a GIS program in the computer for inspection schedule instead of Tree Tagging & there are only 0.25% of tree failure rate causing injury in Singapore at present. Although being a tropical country, Singapore does get 'Freak Storm' with wind up to 150 km/h which is as strong as our typhoon occasionally. Such wind can cause tree failure even for healthy trees.

Npark is now embarking on a Tree Replacement Program to substitute for old species such as Andira & Bauhinia which have high failure rate. Whereas in HK we are still busy planting proned species, Npark has gone one step ahead to identify dangerous species by their arborists & have taken the approach to mitigate the risks. On the Tree Valuation Program, Npark has fully taken the ISA standard of Trunk Formula Method for compensation & punishment measures.

It is the intention of the Singapore Govt to green all concrete structures in their tropical country. Being the leading govt agency, Npark has proposed a Streetscape Greenery Master Plan by producing regional characteristics in plant species for colour & fragrance. Npark has also proceeded with the Park Connector Network to link the housing areas & transport routes to parks to form green coridoors. This same concept was conceived in HK during the British era but somehow never seen action in HK so far. In order to achieve cost effectiveness, Npark has built strong partnership with local communities such as schools, uniformed groups, community centres, etc. to work on community gardening projects which will enhance pride & sense of belonging to the community. Such programs include the Heritage Tree evaluation where the designated tree would be proposed by the public with Npark committee making the judgement at the end.

Npark has a division called the Singapore Garden City Pte Ltd (SCG) which provides landscape & arboriculture consultancy to the world. Current clients includes China & some Middle Eastern states. SCG has the full support & experience gathered in Npark with over 40 years of tropical landscaping. Maybe our govt depts would like to make contacts with SCG on common ground of interest for some of our current major developments in HK ( .

2. Arboriculture in Singapore

Trees, being the most prominant feature in soft landscape with potential destructive power, has been set aside as a specialist field in many governments in the world. There is no difference for this in Singapore. The Singapore Govt has understood that landscape architects are not specifically well trained to conduct tree related matters & would leave all tree work to the arborists. This is a smart move indeed. Now Singapore has trained over 100 no. of ISA Certified Arborists (CA) in the past few years. This is the highest percentage per land area in the world. All tree related matters like design, specifications, supervision, preservation, maintenance, etc. in Npark will have to go through the Arboriculture Branch for examination & approval. Landscape architects will have to submit their design to Npark for tree work approval for any development where Npark has juridiction upon. In Singapore in general, landscape architects will work in harmony with the arborists to tackle problems with tree work. Arboriculture is a recognized & respected profession in Singapore & Npark is full of qualified arborists. When HK people come to admire trees in Singapore, have they realized who are doing the tree work there?

The Arboriculture Branch in Npark was officially started in 1996 to specifically look after the tree related matters in Singapore. In 2001, Npark also started the ISA Arborist Certification Program in conjunction with ISA. ISA is currently the only arborist training program adopted by the Singpore Govt after comparing with all other similar programs in the world. Npark arborists will also conduct training modules for all other govt depts & the public for tree knowledge.

Unlike HK, tree transplantation is not a common or encouraged practice in Singapore. All arborists understand the harmful effects & astronomical costs involved in properly moving large trees. Npark will only consider transplanting large trees if there is a very good reason for it & also if cost is available, e.g. Rare specicies or trees with great sentimental value. Any transplantation for govt work in Singapore these days can only be carried out under the direct supervision of arborists, not landscape architects, in the field. Npark can provide training modules to the landscape contractors for carrying out proper tree transplantation.

In Singapore, tree selection is based on the ISA principle of the ' Right Tree for the Right Place', & not like in HK which many a times based on personal preference of certain individuals. The Singaporesans may be surprised to see HK planting so many Bauhinas whereas they are replacing them hard in Singapore. They may not understand that we have a lot of tree experts in HK but indeed very few arborists. If one thinks tree experts can determine success in any tree design, well, compare the trees in Singapore & HK, & do not just blame it on the climate.

Under Npark administered projects in Singapore these days, Certified Arborists are required to be employed in the bidding for any govt work & is strongly recommended to have Certified Arborists employed for private development. Both landscape architects & arborists have not yet gained statutory status in the Singapore legal system, but arborists are put into the administration system as a requirement for govt jobs. For any court cases requiring testimony on trees in Singapore, it is also the arborists who will represent Npark for the proceeding & not their landscape architects. The role of arborist as compared to landscape architect is set very clear in the Singapore operating systems. This is something we HK can learn.

3. Accreditation Program for the Singapore Landscape Industries

While there has been talking in HK for years, Singapore is going to release its Specialist Professional Accreditation Program by their Worker Skill Qualification Board by end of 2006. A Workforce Development Agency (WDA) has been set up with statutory status by the Singapore Govt to legally recognize the registered personnels in the program. This step is to set professional recognition for personnels in the landscape industries in tenders & employment, with major distinction as follows:

a. Certified Arborist
b. Certified Practicing Horticulturist
c. Certified Nursery Professiona
d. Certified florist Designer/Advisor
e. Certified Practicing Landscape Architect
f. Certified Irrigation Auditor

Each certified personnel belonging to the above grouping must produce proof for the qualification which will be screened & scrutinized by the WDA, before the certification can be granted. For the Certified Arborist category, ISA Certified Arborist is acceptable along with that of a few other countries.

The path of advancement in the Accreditation Program will be:

Landscape Technician Grade 2 --- Landscape Technician Grade 1 --- Landscape Supervisor --- Landscape Manager --- Certified Professional

The Npark Landscape Industry Division is responsible for the coordination & development of the program. It is aimed to upgrade existing skill levels & improve the image of the landscape personnels in Singapore. Landscape personnels in HK, especially among the landscape contractors, have little recognition as any professional by statutory status or even much social status. In the recent HK Construction Worker category, none of the landscape professions is listed in & landscapers can only be regarded as casual labour. This Singaporean program can serve as a guideline to our govt to upgrade our own landscape industry in HK.

4. Training in the Landscape Industry in Singapore

Singapore is soon to open its own Institue of Tropical Landscape to conduct training to meet their Accreditation Program by end of this year. It was said that the institue can hold between 100 - 200 students at any one time & Npark hopes to intake students from around the region.

For arborist training, ISA is the only chosen partner with the Singapore Govt to conduct arborist training in Singapore. Since tropical trees do have variation in compartmentalization & pruning recovery as compared to temperate trees, the Singapore authorities will modify some of the ISA teachings to fit in with their own experience. This institue will offer the ISA Certification Programs for anyone interested to become Certified Arborists, & will become another ISA exam centre in the region. Therefore, besides HK & Hawaii now, our Station Members have one more choice to go to Singapore to take their CA exam. Therefore, do stay close to this Station for periodical announcement on ISA training progress in around the region.

Besides arborists, the Singaporean institue will also train for landscape architects, horticulturists & landscape professionals in other fields. Please kindly enquire directly with Npark for the other areas of training.

5. Other information

a. Singapore has by now about 160 Heritage Trees voted by their committee.

b. Npark has only 3 no. of qualified Nursery Suppliers for trees in Singapore. Npark tree standards comply with that of ISA with variation for tropical species.

c. Npark's topsoil mix ratio is 3 parts soil, 2 parts compost & 1 part sand.

d. Wood chip is the common mulch used by Npark.

e. Singapore has about 130 no. of Govt Registered landscape contractors for govt work.

f. Singapore has about 18 no. of practicising landscape architecture firms for govt work.

g. Singapore is now facing competition in the concept of 'Garden City' image from other cities in the world.

h. The width of the tree planting strip in the central divider of highways in Singapore is adopted to be 4m by Npark.

i. Npark records all movement in their landscape like planting, tree failure & gardening maintenance by computer database.

j. An International Flower Show will be held at the Suntec City in Singapore in Dec 2006. Participation from this Station is encouraged. Organized visit can be arranged by this Station if enough interest is obtained.

In conclusion, this trip was jam packed with useful information not available by literature. It is our cordial thanks to Npark who has given us more than we would ask for. The Npark officers were all friendly & knowledgeable. All participants have good image of Npark & the beautiful country of Singapore. We do hope this is the beginning of cooperation between our two similar regions because we do have a lot to share & lean form each other, although it seems to be unilateral at present. HK can become a gateway to China for our Singaporean counterparts. Singaporeans can find partners in HK for the vast China market. Our experience in dealing with the Mainland Chinese in unofficial ways can be of benefit to our Singaporean seniors.

After this visit, we arborists in HK/China have a lot of questions to ask ourselves. Is it necessary to develop arboriculture in our HK/China Region? Why is it arboriculture can successfully be developed in Singapore? How far ahead they are as compared to us? Are we going to catch up? How? Can we rely on our govt to help us?

This report is not meant to be exhaustive & my personal recording can have mistakes. I do welcome comments & correction from

It has indeed been a wonderful experience for all of us over there; the Singapore experience.....

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager
ISA HK/China Station
ISA Certified Arborist no. ML-0174A
ISA Certified Tree Wroker (Climbing Specialist) no. CTW-1645C
Member of the International Palm Society
Member of the Royal Horticultural Society, UK
Life Member of the Institue of Horticulture, HK

ISA HK/China ---Termites Talk

Dear All,

Owing to popular request (or pressure) from Station Members, this Station has carried out research on the insidious insect of Termite, which seems to have been a horror among Property Management & Govt agencies in HK.

In reality, Termites are no horrible insects than any others like mosquitoes or houseflies. They have been around for millions of years & there are several hundred kinds of Termites in the world. Contrary to popular belief, Termites are not ants but closely related to cockroaches. In fact, ants are their enemy & Termites would build a mud covering to protect themselves from ant attack.

In a way, Termites are beneficial insects which chew & digest fallen wood, & turn them into compost for natural recycling. Termites are one of the very few insects on earth which can digest cellulose & are themselves part of the food chain in our ecology. Termites particularly like decayed wood with high moisture content. Live wood has alleleopathic chemicals in them & would normally fend off most kinds of Termites.

The most common kind of subterranean Termite found in HK is the Coptotermes formosanus, or more commonly known as the Formosan Termite which originated in Southern China. This Termite is now a nightmare in the USA & Australia where 95% of the houses are made with wood. Formosan Termites are highly secretive in their existence & they are powerful in their destruction. By the time discovery is made of them, the wooden structures are usually damaged beyond repair.

In tree production, Termites do not appear to be a major problem among tree nurseries which practice good hygiene. In the ISA Tree Farm of the undersigned in China where by now 20,000 trees are grown in 60 varieties, no Termite activity has been detected since operation 3 years ago. However, in some of the project sites of the undersigned where dead trees were retained as a Govt requirement by contract, Termite problem had been serious despite hard efforts of the pest control companies to eradicate them, simply because dead wood had to be retained on site for political reasons.

There is a very good commercial movie with sound giving an introduction to Termites as follows:

This movie was made by a Termite product company with good description on their activities & control. Please note most commercial advertisement would not give unbiased view on the insect, but would rather emphasize on the harms that Termites would do for specific purposes. For better information still on this subject, consultation with entomologists are recommended, e.g. our universities & AFCD. Some overseas universities such as University of Florida & University of Massachusetts have carried out extensive research on Termites & information can also be sought from them.

Termites are not monsters & their existence is essential to our ecological balance. All we need to do is to learn how to live with them, & to turn them into friendly neighbours instead of deadly enemies.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

ISA HK/China --- specification for trees produced to International Standards

***Station Mail is for the information of Station Members only. Comments form non-Station Members will not be entertained.***
Dear Station members,

Eurasian Tree Farm (ETF) has been invited to produce a Nursery Stocks Specification for Landscaping Trees for private & Govt sectors in HK. The Station Manager reckons that if input is to be given to specific clients only, it may as well be publicised in Station Mail for anyone interested. Information sharing is one of the virtues of this Station & therefore why this one can not be shared?

So, please find attached the first version of the Nursery Trees Specification at ETF for anybody's interesting information.

This specification may be the most comprehensive Nursery Trees Specification that HK has seen so far for landscaping, & it was written with the production & landscaping experience of the Station Manager in his 23 years in the industry. Even though it looks complicated in many of its wordings to the commoners, it is really a dwarf when compared to the 129 page ANSI z60.1-2004 which ISA arborists around the world is using. Anyhow, this is a start & we'll carry on improving.

Dozens of Station Members have already visited ETF in the past two months & most are now convinced that the ISA tree recommendations can indeed be applied for nursery production even for China. It is also interesting to note that although ETF is surrounded by thousands of China tree farms, no even one of them has ever bothered to visit ETF to study the standard & production method for quality trees. Perhaps these Chinese tree farmers think that they already know it all.

On the other hand, the secret of success of ETF really lies in the knowledge & attitude in Structural Pruning. Even if the Chinese tree farmers would copy ETF in nursery design & logistics, they would still need to learn the hardest part which is the Structural Pruning in order to produce ISA trees. We have a Chinese saying that 江山易改,品性難移。 Wearing western clothes & driving western cars do not mean a person can speak western language too. What Chinese tree farmers lack really is proper knowledge & attitude in quality tree production, & this may take generations to correct.

Please note that this specification is really meant to apply to Excurrent Trees to be used for landscape, i.e. roadside trees & feature trees. Decurrent Trees can also be structurally pruned to achieve Excurrent growth form in nursery. After installation, continuous Structural Pruning would be required to maintain the Excurrent form which can be labour intensive. If not maintained, the genetic Decurrent nature of the tree will return & a Decurrent tree will be obtained at the end. Please also note that this specification does not apply to Topiary & other artificially shaped trees.

As this is the first attempt to write up something so complicated in our landscape history in HK & mistakes are likely to be contained. The Station Manager welcomes any constructive comment from our Station Members to upgrade this specification for the benefit of all in the Greenery development for our loving home of HK.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager


Specification of Nursery Trees (Balled & Burlaped, & Container Grown) produced to International Standard at Eurasian Tree Farm (ETF) in Guangzhou, China

(A) Tree Parts above Ground

1. A prominent Central Leader from base to tip, with any co-dominant branching starting at not less than 2/3 of total height measured from base, for Excurrent Tree or Decurrent Tree so pruned to Excurrent Form.

2. No Included Bark at any point of branch attachment in trunk & branches for good structure.

3. No Topping at Central leader or at lateral branches.

4. A Live Crown Ratio, which is the height of the living crown with foliage divided by the total height of the tree, is to be over 50%, with 67% at its best. This is for assuring the vigour of the tree with adequate foliage to produce food & for an even wind loading on tree. Please note there are species sensitive to lifting if no Root Pruning is allowed at time of delivery, which may lead to the dropping of some leaves. In such case, the lower branches in the crown should still be living & be able to re-generate leaves after installation. The shape of the crown should simulate that of a ‘tear drop’ for maximum wind resistance.

5. The diameter of the lateral branch is less than 50% of the diameter of the trunk at the branch union for the development of a Strong Branch Attachment.

6. The lateral branches should not overlap one another when viewing vertically from top. The ideal arrangement is that of a Spiral Staircase for good air & light penetration.

7. A noticeable trunk & branch Taper from base to tip for maximum wind resistance.

8. No pruning wound or mechanical damage of any kind which includes canker & cavity on trunk or branches of size exceeding 10% of the trunk diameter, or 50mm in length or diameter, whichever less is to be preferred.

9. A Balanced Crown with full foliage for even weight distribution & wind loading. No lop-sided canopy is allowed.

10. No major pest problem on any part of the tree. Pest attack or chlorosis at 5% of total foliage is acceptable, because foliage is a temporary organ which comes & goes. Cold damage or wind damage to foliage is acceptable if delivery is to be made right after such climatic condition. Tree without foliage is acceptable if deciduous in nature & delivered during cold season.

11. Minimum Canopy Width of tree at widest is to comply with the followings:

Trunk diameter (mm) Minimum Canopy Width (m)

25 1
50 1.5
75 2
100 & above 3

Please note the width of the cargo compartment of an average lorry on HK road is around 2.5m. Anything wider than 2.5m may have to be cut back to fit (i.e. Topping) & this is not encouraged at time of delivery. Crown Reduction should be done at the production stage, not delivery.

(B) Tree Parts below Ground

1. Diameter of Rootball is to be at 10 times or more than the diameter of the trunk for maximum transplant survival, e.g. a 20mm trunk tree should have a rootball of minimum 200mm diameter.

2. No Girdling Root / Circling Root system. All roots are radially emitted from centre of root crown.

3. No Defective Roots such as ‘J’ roots in any part of the root system.

4. No root of above 20% of trunk diameter growing out of the rootball. This is to ensure minimum ‘transplant shock’ if such defective root exists & be severed during lifting.

5. Roots are healthy & living, showing a white colour appearance in general. Dead roots are generally brown or black in colour.
6. Rootball must be filled with roots & be compact. Foreign soil filling to enlarge rootball is not to be allowed. This can be determined by ‘Push Test’.

(C) Others

1. Tree should be able to stand up on its own without staking. Tree that can not stand up on its own indicates inadequate sized rootball or poor root development. ‘Soft’ trunk requiring staking to stand upright is not allowed. ‘Soft’ trunk development is generally due to a lack of taper or inadequate cellulose formation in the trunk tissues.

2. No fertilization has happened before delivery to avoid root burning.

3. Please note that the above specification can be Species Dependent which by nature & genetic, may not be able to achieve the above growth form even by Structural Pruning, e.g. Toona & Macaranga in terms of Live Crown Ratio. Please contact ETF for further details on the desired specification for such species.

4. Please note the above specification does not apply to Palms.

For any queries, please contact Eurasian Garden (Hong Kong) Ltd in Hong Kong at for further information.

IS AHK/China --- Tree Root Disturbance in the name of 'Instant Effect'

*** 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.***

Dear Station Members,

Attached photos show quite a common scene in HK in landscaping.

Mature trees were planted along the street for years & then it was decided to add attraction for certain purposes. Colourful shrubs & groundcovers were added in to make the setting look more like an European garden, which would actually invite constant watering & heavy maintenance. Soil in the vicinities of the Mature Trees were churned over in the name of 'cultivation' since it was regarded to be too compacted for shrub & groundcover growing. Excavator might be deployed for churning which would actually add further compaction to the soil by running over it. Compost would then be mixed in with heavy digging usually to a depth of 300mm to ensure 'proper mixing'. Thousands of shrubs & groundcovers would then be added in to achieve the desired 'Instant Effect'. The job was then appraised to enhance Greenery for our city.

Would the same thing be carried out in Europe, America, Australia, New Zealand or Singapore in a location where Mature Trees were already installed for years ??

Probably not, except for a very good reason. Landscapers & Arborists there would know that digging & churning near Mature Trees would seriously disturb the root system of the established trees. The Absorbing Roots of Mature Trees would usually grow at a depth of 300mm from soil surface & they are fragile. Messing around with them would kill them or seriously disturb their normal functions. On the other hand, the thousands of new shrubs & groundcovers added in will compete with the roots of the Mature Trees for nutrients & water. Smaller plants would usually win due to their massive numbers. The Mature Trees would therefore be depleted of the existing supply.

Mature Trees are like senile human without much vigour to re-generate lost parts when compared to Young Trees (usually those below 100mm DBH for many species). They will have a hard time to re-grow lost roots & re-attain vigour once disturbed. That's why Western Nations would not carry out so many Mature Tree Transplantation like in HK/China. Transplantation will disturb roots, even more seriously than adding shrubs & groundcovers nearby. In a way, we love our trees to death in our city.

The ill-effects of the root disturbance for these Mature Trees would not be felt instantly, but the so called 'Instant Effect' can be because the area around the Mature Trees will become instantly colourful. However, the Mature Trees may develop decay, retarded growth, dieback, internal cracks, cankers & many other problems in the months to come. At one point or another if these Mature Trees are not inspected carefully & regularly after symptoms have developed, the trees may fail in the rainstorm. Then we may call it an 'Act of God' . Nobody would then get the blame.

It would be much better if these colourful shrubs could be added at the same time when the trees were planted years ago to give the tree roots time to accommodate. Even so, it is always recommended that a layer of mulch to be placed under the canopy of the trees to provide healthy growth for the roots. Roots of trees & shrubs/groundcovers do compete for nutrients & water with one another.

Are we really knowledgeable enough in our planting intelligence as we'd like to think we are, when compared to the rest of the advanced world ??

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

IS AHK/China --- Review of BS 5837 Trees in Construction

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Dear All,

The BS 5837 'Trees in relation to construction --- Recommendations' is the usual tree protection reference guide for a lot of tree work in HK. Even the recent Wong Tai Sin Tree Transplant specifications are making reference to it, although they are referring to the older version of 1991 edition. This older version is now replaced by the 2005 updated version.

Like any other British Standards, the BS 5837 is well written with consideration on all aspects on tree work, although the main emphasis is on temperate trees growing in the British Isles. BS 5837 is a joint effort with contribution from the UK Arboricultural Association, Institution of Civil Engineers, Institution of Structural Engineers, Landscape Institute, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) & a few othres. Therefore it can be seen as an agreement between arborists & professionals of the other trades.

What is significant in this Standard is that the name of 'Arborculturist', or 'Arborist' which we normally call for short, has ever appeared in any of the British Standards. As the British Standards are frequently used in law cases in the UK, Commonwealth & HK, in a way, the position of Arborist is now given a recognition in Courts if this British Standard is ever referred to. This is a significant advance in aboriculture for us in HK indeed.

The term 'Arboriculturist' is defined in section 2.1 of BS 5837 as follows:

"person who has, through relevant education, training & experience, gained recognized qualifications & expertise in the field of trees in relation to construction."

There is no further detailing on the qualification & it will be up to the Court Judges to decide whom an Arborist is. In general, certified arborists, urban foresters, persons holding certificates in arboricultural training, members of the UKAA, etc. would be considered to qualify into the 'Arboriculturist' definition, unless special legal circumstances prevented it so.

BS 5837:2005 has given guidance for a balanced approach on deciding tree preservation on a construction site in a Flow Chart form for easy refernece as in Fig.1. In many of the decision making processes, the requirement of the Arboriculturist is specifically referred to. Trees are carefrully categorized for Removal & Retention. Subcategories are listed to further exemplify on how trees are retained for their arboricultural values, landscape values & cultural values, & not just for their sizes & maturity. Also, a Young Tree is regarded to be a tree with a stem diameter of below 150mm at DBH, & is considered to be relocabable. Transplantation of Mature Tree is not recommended by this Standard, in line with ISA practices.

Tree survey in BS 5837:2005 is not limited to just sizes, amenity value & health condition only, but a concept of Arboricultural Implication Assessment (AIA) is brought up to consider the full impact of the retention effect of the trees in concern in a development. The life expectency of the tree & its future integration with the development are considered. This is an excellent approach indeed.

With regard to the Tree Protection methods on site, BS 5837 has given several details on the approach & also a guidance on the minimum distance between Young Trees & structure in Table 3, although this Standard is meant to refer to temperate trees in the British Isles. If we refer to this Standard for our subtropical trees in HK, we have to make allowance for that.

Design recommendation is also given to new plantings in a development with considerations for the future impact of the new plantings. A good design in the beginning will save a lot of maintenance work in future, & this Standard recognizes this effect in its section 13.

Lastly, various British laws concerning trees in the design & protection are listed out. It can be seen that trees in Britain are well protected by legislation & are required to be managed by trained professionals.

In summary, BS 5837:2005 is an excellent guide. This Station recommends any professionals working in this field to get a copy & study through it. In ISA, there is a similar book called "Trees & Development --- Matheny & Clark 1998" which can be purchased on ISA web of . This book gives great details on tree design & protection in a development & is 184 pages in total, comparing to the 33 pages of BS 5837. With this book & the BS 5837 on hand, a lot of the confusions in dealing with trees in a development process can be clarified, although the help of a professional arborist is always recommended to give advices all round.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

ISA HK/China --- Review of BS 4043 Tree Transplanting

Dear All,

The BS 4043:1989 ' Recommendations for Transplanting Root-balled Trees' is still very much in use in landscape specification in HK today. This Station has taken some time to make an attempt to review in general this valuable BS against ISA practices of the following publications, in major with other ISA research:

1. Arborist's Certification Study Guide, by ISA
2. Arboriculture --- Integrated management of Landscape Trees, Shrubs & Vines, by Harris, Clark & Matheny
3. Priciples & Practice of Planting Trees & Shrubs, by Watson & Himelick

The above 3 books can be purchased from ISA website of .

In general, the recommended practices mentioned in this excellent BS are actually quite similar to ISA practices, like ' prepared rootball should be 10 times the trunk diameter ', prior root pruning, transplanting at dormant season, & ' trees should be handled & lifted by the rootball only ', & ' small nursery stocks are likely to be the most adaptable to change', etc. ' The top of the rootball should not be below the surrounding soil ' & ' topsoil should be re-used & as much of the indigenous soil as possible should be retained to avoid a distinct interface between the planting pit & the surrounding soil ' are also very much in line with ISA recommendations. In viewing our planting sites in HK, it seemed that this BS has not been followed strictly enough & has led to many undesirable transplanting operations in the past among developments.

It may be interesting to note that this BS was written with the intention of working with temperate trees in the British Isles in 1989. No specific reference was made for sub-tropical & tropical trees, although some applications would be similar for both regions.

This Station has noted the following points as compared with ISA practices in this BS as follows:

1. No information is given on Girdling/Circling Roots for container grown trees. When production period is excessively long using containers, Girdling/Circling roots will develop when the elongated roots hit the sides of the container. Girdling Roots will kill the tree in the long run by constriction in the root crown region. It is like gradual strangling. This practice happens frequently in China nurseries where they think intact rootball can quell transplant shock with container production. Then the tree aould topple later by the production of Girdling Roots.

2. In sec. 2.5 of the BS stating that ' pruning can reduce the risk of excessive transpirational loss', for ISA practices would recommend a larger rootball to be dug instead, since foliage is needed to produce food for the upper & lower ground parts of the tree & removal is not preferred.

3. In sec. 3.2.4 of the BS for mulching, UV stablized polythene sheeting is allowed to be used as mulch. This may lead to irrigation difficulties or ponding on top of this plastic sheet during rain. This will not be an ISA practice.

4. In sec 3.3.1 of the BS stating ' the sheet mulches may have to be removed to allow soil to be added to restore the level ', there would be a different approach with ISA where soil addition to planted trees would not be generally recommended as an after care. New soil addition may suffocate the roots.

5. In Fig. 4 of the BS showing the wooden stake driving through the rootball of the planted tree, this would definitely not be an ISA practice. This may damage structural roots on the way.

6. In Fig. 5 of the BS showing the calculation of the staking height, this again would not be a standard practice for ISA since ISA arborists would prefer to stake only as low in a trunk as possible in order to build trunk taper.

7. In Fig 6 of the BS showing stakes driven at an angle of approx. 60 degree to the horizontal, whereas ISA practice would require the stakes to be driven at the same angle of the ties to allow maximum friction of stakes in the soil during pull.

All in all, the BS 4043 together with the BS 3998 would provide some very good guidance to tree transplanting in HK. If these two BS have been strictly followed, no topping & miniaturized rootballs would happen in many of the transplanting jobs. Trees would not be planted too deep & mature trees would not be recommended for tree transplantation. A number of other ill-treatments would also not occur. Our problem seemed to be not lying with the BS themselves.

It seemed to be that the BS's this Station has reviewed so far have advocated similar tree practices to ISA, although ISA would relentlessly update their practices, practically after any major conference or seminar, through continuous research & reporting, more often than most other national standards of the world.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

IS AHK/China --- Review of the book 'Urban Soil: Applications & Practices'

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Dear Station Members,

Recent ISA arbor research frequently referred to the book:

"Urban Soils: Applications & Practices by Phillip Craul, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture, Harvard University (1999), 366 pages."

This book is said to be a standard text for Bachelor Degree students in Landscape Architecture (BLA) classes in the USA. It is also in the recommended reading list for arborists in ISA publications & can be bought on-line at ISA website (

The name of the book Urban Soils is actually rather deceiving. The Station Manager has found that this is an excellent book on more than just soil texture, soil profile & soil structure. It actually touches on many principles of landscape design such as Sun-Shade Relationship, Calculation of Potential Evapotranspiration on site, Dynamic Water Relations of designed soil, Xeriscape Design, Rooftop Applications, Drainage Design & Techniques, Irrigation Design & Techniques, Tree Planting Techniques, Project Erosion & Sedimentation Control with case studies. It is giving knowledge to the BLA students to understand what is happening on site & be able to talk in similar language to other parties involved in the project, e.g. engineers & architects.

The mathematical models so presented in the book could only be barely understood by the Station Manager who was a trained engineer in the UK. Examples include (all units in imperial units) :

1. Bulk Density Calculation Method (Rawls 1983):

p = 100 / (x / pa) + (100 - x / pm) , where p = soil bulk density
x = % by weight of organic matter
pa = bulk density of organic matter
pm = bulk density of mineral matter

2. Discharge Flow Rate for parallel Relief Drains:

Q = qS(L + S/2) / 43200 , where Q = relief drain discharge
q = drainage coefficient
S = drain spacing
L = drain length

3. Sun's energy absorbed by soil or plant:

Sa = Sb(1 - A)sin q , where Sa = radiation absorbed by the surface of soil or plant
Sb = incident radiation
A = albedo of the surface
q = angle of the Sun to the object

There are many more graphs & calculations for Fluid Mechanics, Energy Transfer & Particle Dynamics which would take an engineer in various disciplines to slowly digest of what is going on in every chapter. Yet this is supposed to be a BLA reading text for US Landscape Architecture students ! Is it really true that they have to be put through all these disciplines ?? If so, US Landscape Architects have high salute from the Station Manager to talk parallel to any qualified engineers, architects, & of course not forgetting we arborists.

The chapter on Tree Planting in this book has been of particular interest to the Station Manager. Some extracts are quoted as follows:

1. Moisture requirement is about 1 inch per week for most plants in the humid temperate climate.
2. Plant nutrients supplied by soil must be evaluated on the basis of native nutrients contained in soil with rate of recycling of plant debris in the system.
3. Depth of tree pit should be slightly less than the height of the rootball.
4. Amendment of backfill is usually not necessary in well structured medium to fine textured soil. Whitcomb (1987) & others have found that amending backfill had no effect as compared to unamended backfill.
5. A properly specified & prepared landscape backfill does not require Hydrogels or absorbents as amendment.
6. For sites covered by impervious materials like sidewalk or traffic way, "The tree survives if the infrastructure fails; the tree fails if the infrastructure succeeds ! "
7. Experience shows that a sidewalk placed over the framework (structural) roots of an established tree, without severing the roots, has little effect on the root system since most of the absorbing roots may be beyond the sidewalk & are in the yard.
8. Fertilization should be done after the first growing season. Fertilization salts of quick release materials can be injurious to roots on direct contact. Nitrogen fertilizer applied at planting may even suppress root growth (Warren 1993).
9. Broadcasting of the fertilizer over the soil surface for open-grown tree is by far the best method of application (Good 1989).
10. If sufficient rooting space is provided in the planting design, root barriers should not be necessary. Their utilization becomes necessary only when the roots are to be confined into an insufficient space for elongation & expansion, which must be considered a design or planning failure.
11. Infiltration rate of design soil should exceed 1 inch per hour after soil saturation.
12. Bulk density of backfill should be in the region of 1.7 to 1.8 MT/cu.m .

Some of the research in this book appear to be in direct contradiction to the General Specifications for landscape work in our Govt Depts & Consultancies. It would depend on whether anyone would doubt the research & experience of this Senior Lecturer of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University & world renown Soil Scientist. The Station Manager wouldn't. A good arborist is supposed to be humble in learning, fact-finding & truth-telling, always bearing Integrity, Professionalism & Participation into our society in mind. This Station is trying to live up these principles constantly, one tree at a time.

Urban Soils is an excellent book to be recommended for study by our Station Members working in the landscaping field. It serves not only as an excellent guide but also can be used for Court reference if ever standards & guidelines are required to be presented in a Court case. After 1997, British laws & standards are no longer binding like before. It will be up to the Court Judges to make decisions in accordance with the most credible facts & reliable evidence presented. Urban Soils, with all its research & National Standards quoted, can be a very acceptable presentation in Court.

The study of an ISA Arborist would stop for nothing if good...

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

IS AHK/China --- Review of selected literature published by AA of UK

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Dear Station Members,

The Arboriculural Association (AA) of the UK, another well known arbor group to a lot of our Civil Servants, was set up in 1964, 40 years after ISA which was established in 1924. AA currently has around 2,000 members mostly of UK origin, as compared to the over 20,000 members of ISA from all around the world. AA mainly focuses on trees in the British Isles since it is a national body.

Traditionally for our Civil Servants when it comes to arbor training, a lot of them would be sent to the UK to learn the standards & practices laid down by the AA & relevant institutes. Therefore, this Station has taken some time to study the AA particularly in their training & literature, to see whether there is anything that our Station can learn from them.

At present, the AA credentials are not interchangeable with those of ISA. AA members would have to pass the ISA exams to get ISA credentials. It is an interesting fact that in our Station's history of several CA exams so held for the HK people, those who have AA background have not passed the CA exam in one go so far. The highest passing mark for CA exam for the HK candidates is currently held by a National Parks Board of Singapore (Nparks) trainee at 93% in Dec 2006.

For anyone who wants to understand more about AA, their website is .

Please be reminded that Britain is situated in a temperate region & London is more northern in latitude than Beijing. British trees would be rather different from our tropical & subtropical trees of HK/China in both growth rate & perhaps even wood properties.

This Station has tried to carefully comb through the structure & literature of AA in the past few months already. Please kindly note that it is not the intention of this Station to compete AA with ISA, because it would be wrong to do so & we are in no position to do so. On the other hand, this Station has heard that negotiation has been going on for AA to merge with ISA for some years. ISA would sincerely like to see AA joining ISA in future.

AA does not publish as many books & videos as ISA does. In the assortment of AA publications available online, this Station has found the following literature of particular interest for the development of our Station Members:

1. European Tree Pruning Guide --- This is a small handbook for reminding tree practitioners on how to properly prune European trees. This book has incorporated a lot of ISA principles in tree pruning as any CA would learn & can be useful as a pocket guide for pruning work on site.

2. A Guide To Good Climbing Practice --- This is the British answer to ISA Certified Tree Worker (CTW) training & in effect, the description is very similar to any CTW would learn. This little book has also fantastic pictures contained & the Station Manager has met some of the demonstrators in the book during their visit to HK at the HK Flower Show 2007. One thing a lot of CTW may not agree with the book in saying that tree climbing on rope is an option after access with mechanical means such as a platform track has exhausted. CTW are proud to climb & would regard mechanical means as an aid. The Station Manager reckoned the poor side of British weather may have some bearing on this decision, & he was living in the UK from 1973 to 1984 for study & work to find out. Also, Eye Protection such as goggles against insect attack or branches poking eyes, was not shown to be worn by the tree climbers in this book at times. There was also no description explicitly requiring this safety practice in any part of the book as aware of, whereas Eye Protection is mandatory for ISA Certified Tree Climbers.

3. Guidance Notes no. 4 Visual Amenity Valuation of Trees & Woodlands (The Helliwell System) --- This is the British method of tree appraisal for urban & woodland trees. The procedures set out are rather different from the ISA method of the Council of Tree & Landscape Appraisers (CTLA) used in North America. This Station would not compare to say which one is better since there is hardly any ground of comparison with our local system. This Station is not aware of any published appraisal method so provided by our Govt Depts on unapproved tree felling, topping or interference for public reference.

4. Guidance Notes no. 6 Preparing for Prosecution --- This is a relevant guide for arborists to learn on how to prosecute or defend for clients in Courts. This book does not go into the complexity of arbor knowledge or legal procedures, but rather provide the framework on how an arborist could do when it comes to carry out tree dispute for litigation. This book is recommended to be read by CA to enhance their legal knowledge, although it fell short of providing exemplified case studies.

5. Guidance Notes no. 7 Tree Surveys --- This books gives guidance to good practice in preparing proper tree survey for arborists. The contents are varying from some of our Govt departmental guidelines & have incorporated advanced technology such as GIS &GPS. Tree life expectancy is also mentioned as an important point in the consideration. This may be a good book for our tree surveyors to enhance their knowledge in their day to day work on site.

Our Station has always been a keen learner for anything good in the arbor world. It does not matter where it comes from as long as the knowledge can advance our development. ISA policies allow us to learn from the good & to bring them back to ISA for sharing. Therefore, we always look everywhere for good information.

May we strengthen ourselves in HK in knowledge for the eventual march on to China later to convert the 1.3 billion there.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manger