KUALA LUMPUR: All parties need to see the need for trees or green areas in the city as a shared responsibility, which requires the involvement, understanding and diversity of disciplines from various sections of society, including urban planners, engineers, architects, property developers, arborists, private sector, community leaders and the public.
Senior Assistant Research Officer (Urban Forestry Branch) of the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), Mohd Afendi Hussin, said that trees in urban areas played an important role not only in beautifying the city, but their role was beyond basic amenity, as they are also a part of the index required to achieve a healthier standard of living.
“The real function of trees planted in the city is not just as a decorative element or purely cosmetic in nature. The tree canopy provides shade to the urban area and helps protect dwellers from the scorching sun.
“This helps reduce the increase in temperature in the city and also reduces the phenomenon of the formation of heat islands in urban areas,” he said in a statement here, today.
Apart from that, he said that the presence of shady trees in public parks attracts visitors for recreation and picnics, and encourages interaction and various positive activities that help strengthen community values, family and friendship, and contributes to improving the quality of life of residents.
However, Mohd Afendi, who is also an arborist, said that not all trees grew perfectly; some grew with a good structural appearance while others may need some help and treatment.
He said that if there were conditions or shapes of tree structures that could cause disturbance or risk, the trees should be managed in accordance with appropriate arboricultural practices.
“Many factors contribute to tree failure including limited planting space, root pruning without considering the tree’s ability to support the weight of the canopy and disturbing their standing, storms, injuries to tree trunks, compacted soil, excessive and careless pruning.
“It is part of the cause of trees becoming weak, under stress, unstable and affecting their health and growth. However, if tree planting is planned and implemented well, these trees will be able to continue to stand tall as a symbol of environmental sustainability and life, providing various functions and means to society,” he said.
According to him, caring for trees using the best arboricultural practices can help make them healthier, fertile and safe, as well as reduce risks, thus enabling the trees to live longer in urban areas.
Mohd Afendi said that the arborist’s role was to provide services in all aspects of tree care, which included species selection, planting, pruning, risk management, tree transplantation, damage prevention as well as tree growth management, especially in the city.
“The role of arborists is gaining attention in our country and this is a positive development because the community now understands the importance of caring for the environment, including trees,” he said.