District in China’s Tianjin to appoint ‘tree chiefs’ for ancient trees protection
By Wu Shaomin
Jizhou district in north China’s Tianjin municipality plans to implement a “tree chief” system for the maintenance and management of its ancient and precious trees, under which each one of such trees will have its own file and be in the charge of a designated person, according to a work plan recently issued by the local government.
Last year, Jizhou district formulated an implementation plan to specify the responsibilities of administrative units at all levels in the protection of ancient and precious trees, aiming to effectively protect the trees and realize standardized and careful management of them.
As the only mountainous area of Tianjin, Jizhou boasts rich resources of centenarian and precious trees. In May, luxuriant trees and flowers in full bloom are widely seen across the district.
At the cultural square of Donghouziyu village, Guanzhuang township, Jizhou, a pine tree that looks like a coiled dragon provides dense shade. More than 60 stone pillars support the tree, each with a height of three meters.
It is a 650-year-old lacebark pine, a rare pine species in China, said Bai Yunfeng, a 77-year-old villager who was watering the tree. The verdant cypress standing next to it is over 320 years, the villager added.
Liu Fengming, a senior agronomist with the forestry bureau of Jizhou, told People’s Daily that the lacebark pine is a first-class ancient tree in China and has been included in a book on China’s ancient and precious trees compiled by the office of the National Greening Commission.
To protect the old tree, the local forestry authority has, based on its condition, supported it with dozens of stone pillars and put up fences and prepared fire extinguishers for it.
“That’s a monitor, which can sense how hard the tree shakes and send abnormal data back,” Liu said, pointing at a grey iron box on the pine trunk.
The monitor has been in use for over 10 years and will soon be replaced by a new product with higher sensitivity, Liu added.
“My fellow villagers and I have kept a close watch on the old tree, and everyone is doing their best to take good care of it,” said Wang Ye, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) branch of Donghouziyu village, while checking on the tree.
There has to be no negligence in the protection of ancient trees, and precautions need to be taken against pests and fire, Wang noted, who believes that it is also important not to interfere too much with their growth.
“We never use nutrient solutions on any ancient trees in the village. We just water them regularly and wipe out the pests, trying to help them grow naturally,” Wang said.
There are many centenarian and precious trees in Jizhou, among which 112 are more than 500 years old, Liu pointed out.
Up to now, there are 3,831 registered ancient and precious trees aged over 100 in Jizhou, which account for 82.6 percent of that resource in Tianjin, Liu said.
“We have so far recorded over 5,000 large trees with a diameter of over 30 centimeters along urban roads and public green spaces. We found 15 more ancient and precious trees, including a metasequoia, nine Chinese scholar trees and five black locust trees,” said Liu Yanxin, a manager at the municipal landscaping service center under the urban management committee of Jizhou.
Jizhou has also continuously strengthened the protection and management of urban green space, improved urban green coverage, and maintained urban biodiversity in recent years.
The management, maintenance and inspection of urban green space have become routine tasks, and the maintenance of plants along roads has also been continuously improved, according to Liu Yanxin.
Jizhou district has increased its green coverage rate to 53.5 percent, with that of the mountainous areas in northern Jizhou reaching 81 percent, Liu said, adding that the per capita park green area in the district reaches 15 square meters.
An official with the urban management committee of Jizhou said that the service center will implement delicacy management of more than five million square meters of green space and over 50,000 trees along roads in the urban areas to ensure that these trees can grow vigorously and form a good urban landscape, eventually realizing the harmonious coexistence between human beings and nature.