Govt, experts launch program to monitor trees at risk of falling

June 15, 2018 17:50
Dr. Charles Wong of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University said the program involves gathering data that will provide an objective and quantitative standard for tree management. Photo: PolyU

A three-year program to monitor and identify trees in danger of falling and posing risk to public safety has been launched in a collaborative effort by universities, experts and the government.

Under the program, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, University of Hong Kong, Friends of the Earth, and a number of government departments will install sensors on the bases of 400 trees in the first stage.

The specialized sensors will collect oscillation data of the trees for a year, which can help to determine the threshold angle the tree is going to exceed if it is to fall.

Data collected will provide an objective and quantitative standard for tree management.

In the second stage, the program will add 8,000 more trees covering nine common species in Hong Kong as well as stone-wall trees.

“Putting sensors on trees is like measuring the blood pressure. If the blood pressure is high (leaning toward the threshold angle in the case of trees), we can provide more care,” said Charles Wong Man-sing, assistant professor of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics at PolyU.

The Jockey Club Charities Trust has granted HK$32 million to the project to cover expenses including the sensors, which cost a few hundred Hong Kong dollars each.

Government departments previously involved in tree-cutting controversies, like the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and Highways Department, have joined the program.

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