Team gets to root of tree trouble

Local | Lauren Lau 25 Jun 2019

A tree expert says many trees which were uprooted during Typhoon Mangkhut last September did not have enough space for their roots to grow.

Jim Chi-yung, the research chair professor at the Education University of Hong Kong’s Department of Social Sciences, has started a two-year project to engage citizens in tree protection and conservation.

Jim used crowd sourcing as a means to collect data and investigate cases of trees being uprooted after Typhoon Mangkhut. He collected more than 4,000 photos from 1,000 citizens, which cover 2,000 cases of trees collapsing.

All the collapsed trees had indications of poor foundation for the roots, said Jim.

The research team also wants to educate the public on conservation, the university’s vice-president of academics, John Lee Chi-kin said.

The team aims to use a mobile application to encourage citizens to conduct simple tree assessments to collect mass data. It hopes to have a general idea of the health of all the trees in Hong Kong by this time next year.

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