LCQ8: Planting trees

Following is a question by the Hon Chan Wai-yip and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (October 28):


It has been learnt that the Government has planted more trees of native species in the countryside in recent years, as compared with the past.  However, I understand that many tree saplings cannot survive as the authorities planted them during unsuitable seasons (including winter).  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the total number of trees planted in each of the past three years and, among them, the respective numbers of trees belonging to exotic and native species;

(b) among the newly planted trees in (a), how many of them are already dead and why; and

(c) whether the authorities will consider not planting trees in winter and planting trees in spring instead, so as to enhance the survival rate of trees; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



(a) The Government planted around 2.03 million, 1.62 million and 1.28 million trees annually from 2006-07 to 2008-09, totalling around 4.93 million.  Some 2.35 million of them belong to native species and some 2.58 million belong to exotic species.  Over 80% of the exotic species were introduced from overseas years ago, and subsequently grow well in Hong Kong or southeast China.  These species include earleaf acacia (Acacia auriculiformis) and Brisbane box (Lophostemon confertus).  Apart from ornamental planting, they are also used for soil erosion control.

(b) We have not kept statistics of trees newly planted in the past three years that could not survive.  Generally speaking, the survival rates of newly planted trees are quite high.  For example, the survival rate of trees newly planted by works departments (e.g. the Highways Department and the Architectural Services Department) and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department is 98%, that for tree saplings planted by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department is over 90%, and that for tree saplings planted by the Civil Engineering and Development Department on seriously eroded lands for soil erosion control is over 80%.  The main reason why newly planted trees cannot survive is that they fail to recover from severe damage by inclement weather like typhoons or hill fires.

(c) Government departments plant over 90% of their trees in spring and summer.  In the case of works departments, for instance, contractors are required to carry out planting work under their projects during the planting season in spring and summer unless there are good justifications for alternative arrangement (such as the need to meet the project implementation requirements) and the approval of the project engineer has been obtained.  With proper care and adequate irrigation, trees planted in winter also have a high survival rate.

Ends/Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Issued at HKT 14:32