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Nature Lovers Up In Arms Over Attempt To Remove Tree

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GEORGE TOWN – The management of Ta­­man Seri Setia apartment here is under fire from nature lovers for attempting to remove a large tree on its land.

The apartment’s management committee chairman F.K. Wong confirmed that the committee decided on March 21 to have the tree removed so that a new tree could be planted in its place.

“The roots are cracking the adjacent drain and spreading into the retaining wall near our 12-storey apartment block,” he told The Star after some nature lovers called the newspaper to complain.

Resident R. Raman, 77, one of the complainants, claimed that the tree, located off Lintang Lembah Permai 2, is over 30 years old.

“It is not a hindrance to anyone,” he said.

Wong said he was not aware that removing a tree on private land required permission.

However, chairman for the state committee on environment Phee Boon Poh said anyone in Penang who wanted to remove trees larger than 30.48cm in diameter must seek permission from the local council, even if the tree is on private land.

The diameter of the tree in question is at least 47cm.

“It will affect natural resources and public interest,” Phee said, adding that the Forestry Department would look into it.

The Taman Seri Setia apartment committee has since girdled the tree, a method that entails complete removal of a strip of bark from around the entire circumference of the tree.

This method ensures the death of the area above the girdle over time.

A check on the tree showed that the deep cut was still fresh and sap was seeping out of the upper part of the cut.

Environmentalist and rubber tree expert Sunny Nah said the tree would certainly die.

“It is a slow way for a tree to die. It will try to heal itself, but girdling is almost always fatal.

“If the council wants to save the tree, it should try giving it an amino acid fertiliser formulated from soy beans,” Nah said. – The Star Online

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