|HCM City should make a regular survey of trees to provide decision makers with information to make sustainable plans for adapting to climate change. — Photo voh.com.vn|
HCM CITY — HCM City should make a regular survey of trees to provide decision makers with information to make sustainable plans for adapting to climate change, experts said.
The city has thousands of century-old trees that pose management as well as safety challenges, according to Nguyễn Khắc Dũng, head of the Department of Transport’s park and urban tree management.
There are more than 158,200 trees belonging to 180 species, including more than 6,760 that are 150 years old.
"Infrastructure development and construction of high-rise buildings hinder the growth of tree roots," he told a seminar yesterday in HCM City.
Depleting groundwater and its pollution are also major factors affecting the roots and causing branches to break easily, according to Dũng.
Many trees are unsuitable for urban areas, another reason that many fall easily.
Sidewalks are constantly dug up for underground works, which makes trees susceptible to toppling.
The incidence of tree falls has increased in the last few years due partly to sudden rainstorms, flooding, high tides and other impacts of climate change.
Last year the city reported 184 cases of trees toppling and 437 cases of falling branches.
In the first 10 months of this year those numbers shot up to 220 and 580.
Đinh Quang Diệp of the environment and natural resources faculty at HCM City’s Nông Lâm University said a large number of trees are chopped down to make way for infrastructure works and construction of sky-scrapers.
Since there is no land set aside for planting trees in the inner city, HCM City should develop its canopy in outlying districts and new urban residential areas, he said.
There are many benefits associated with urban trees such as shade and reducing temperatures.
The trees also absorb rainwaters, helping prevent flooding, and help conserve groundwater.
Urban tree canopies are becoming critical as temperatures rise as a result of global warming.
Since 2008 the city Department of Transport has worked with the Department of Science and Technology to draft a master plan for creating an urban tree canopy but it has not been completed.
“It is critical to have an overall assessment of urban trees so that appropriate measures can be taken in a timely manner to ensure the safety of people as well as conservation and replacement of urban trees,” Dũng said. — VNS