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Trees Lost in Transplants

Moving ancient trees from their natural locations to cities is becoming increasingly popular in Guangdong Province, especially in the Pearl River Delta. At least 10,000 trees have been moved to Guangdong cities in recent years, more than 1,000 of which were ancient trees, according to experts.  

Experts have warned that this may damage the ecological environment and result in a great waste of natural resources.


Before transplanting a tree, one has to remove some branches and roots. During the transportation process, one has to bind the trees, which further damages the bark. Meanwhile, old trees find it hard to adapt to a new environment and die very easily.


Two years ago, a Pearl River Delta city bought a 1,000-year-old pine from Jiangxi Province, only to see it soon die. The pine cost the city 150,000 (US$18,292), and the death of the pine was an incalculable loss to natural resources.


Last year, a city in western Guangdong removed dozens of ancient trees to the entrance of an ecological tourist site, but most died under the sweltering sun.


In Dongguan, some house developers bought ancient trees and planted them in community neighborhoods, trying to establish ecological communities overnight.


According to the forest research institute of Dongguan, the death rate of transplanted ancient trees is as high as 80 to 90 percent. Even if the trees were removed from nearby with care, the survival rate of large trees would not exceed 60 percent.


Some experts worry that removing ancient trees may cause an invasion of biological species and damage the natural environment of cities.


Experts with the Guangdong forestry bureau suggest that cities plant trees less than 20 years old, saying these trees find it easier to survive.


Experts with the Guangdong afforestation commission are calling for the government to establish a law prohibiting the random removal of ancient trees.


(Shenzhen Daily August 4, 2003)

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