Active Dates: 2010 – 2016
Principal Investigator: Matthew PRYOR (PI), Gary WATSON (Co-I), Wei LI (Co-I)
Funding body: GRF
This original research study has investigated the science behind the transplantation of mature trees, a previously un-researched area of arboricultural practice, but one that is becoming increasingly common as an environmental mitigation measure in high density cities. As controlled experiments on such trees are not feasible, we developed a research methodology comprising detailed literature review of scientific papers relating to the arboricultural responses of nursery stock trees to transplantation, scaling that up via known morphological and physiological differences between nursery stock and very mature trees, and then testing the predicted responses against detailed analysis of more than 1000 actual transplanting operations in the field.
The study aims to establish the physical and operational limits of mature tree transplanting as a potential environmental mitigation measure within high density urban settings, and generate reliability based technical guidelines for future operations.
The study has generated a wide range of unique data on different tree transplanting techniques in Hong Kong and the factors that contribute most to successful transplanting operations.
The results of the study have particular application in Hong Kong, where the value of tree transplantation as an environmental remediation measure has been widely debated by practitioners, but are relevant to arboriculturists in tropical environments across the world. The study has also identified Hong Kong as an emerging area of arboricultural research, and the findings were recognised in a 2014 HKILA Research prize.