Technology and traditional methods of replanting to improve survival rate

  • Business
  • Saturday, 14 Jun 2014

Eco World Development Group Bhd is honing its skills ecologically to face the competition ahead.

Transplanting and replanting as well as protection of water ways are two key areas.

The company is improving on tree transplanting and replanting because a high degree of its projects will feature them thriving in diversity. Thus far, the company has improved the survival rate of the trees have from 50% to 90%.

Head of group landscape Md Suhilmi Ismail says before a tree is transplanted, a period of nine months is needed as various processes are involved.

Among them selection, tagging of potential trees, soil and ground cover investigation. The actual process of removing the tree from its original site depends on whether one uses technology or the traditional method of digging around its roots known as drenching.

Using technology to scoop up a tree will help to speed up the process considerably but the new site has to be prepared before the tree can be removed from its original site. Up to 25 trees can be “scooped up” a day using technology. Sometimes it is not possible to use machinery as the new site may not be ready to receive it.

Hence, for serious cultivation, conservation and replanting to take place, a transit nursery is important, he says.

The company has set up a transit nursery in Johor and in other locations to cater to the needs of its various projects. This will help towards minimising wastage. The nursery will enable plants to grow to a certain size before they are replanted.

“When trees of a certain size are replanted in the new development, the positive effect to the a project is instantaneous,” he says.

Suhilmi says EcoBotanic’s boulevard alone will have 13 types of trees of which six will be its main species. There will be one specie of palm and 24 species of shrubs. Its retention pond area and sales gallery area will have about 10 new species of trees and palms, different from the boulevard area.

The rationale for this diversity is to create a botanical garden as per its name.

Suhilmi rationalises that trees for the entrance and the boulevard must be of a considerable size to create a statement and to provide that sense of welcome while those along the perimeters can be less conspicuous.

He says EcoBotanic will have several phases of planting. It is currently in the second phase of planting and cultivation.

“The biggest challenge in replanting is to ensure the tree survives. That means we have to bring the original soil it thrives in to the new area.

“We study the soil, ground conditions and ‘neighbouring trees’ besides other factors to ensure a good survival rate as some species thrive well with certain species.”

Suhilmi says a lot of “planning, selection and designing” are needed when creating a botanical garden. The choice of tree cover, age and height are important as certain fruiting trees and shrubs attract certain insects and small animals like butterflies and squirrels. He says it is a very interesting and exciting challenge and it is possible to create an environment where small animals, insects and man thrive together.

Even as the Eco World group decides to go big on the environment, there may be certain issues that are beyond its control.

Power transmission lines are one of them. To reduce the distance between the transmission power lines and residential housing, the company has carved out 36 acres out of the 325 acres as a sort of commercial buffer.

The plan is to build shop offices, serviced apartments and an integrated commercial area comprising a bit of retail on the 36 acres to “separate” the power lines from the houses.

The Eco Boulevard shop offices and Eco Nest serviced apartments were launched earlier this year.

On whether it is possible to have the tranmission lines go underground, a property consultant in Johor Baru says there are conflicting opinions about this. Even if it is possible, it will come at a cost, he says.

But despite the existence of the transmission lines, sales for EcoBotanic has been good, he says. It is about 95% sold since the project was launched in September last year.

“The demand is there because there are not many choices for the sort of development that was offered. Secondly, the buyers went for branding because the team behind it is previously from a well-known company,” the consultant says.

The company’s other projects in Johor are EcoSpring and EcoSummer in Tebrau, Iskandar Malaysia. It plans to launch its Eco Business Park 1 in the third quarter of this year.

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