‘Trees can feel stress too’


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 07 Jun 2015

KEPONG: Trees feel stress and need rest the same way humans do, and the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) is playing doctor to keep them healthy.

FRIM director-general Datuk Dr Abdul Latif Mohmod said trees in the cities were the worst affected.

“It causes them to fall sick, making them susceptible to attacks from fungi and pests,” he said at the institute’s open day and World Environment Day yesterday.

He said a tree that looked healthy on the outside could be hollow inside, making it hard to diagnose its problem with the naked eye.

Dr Latif said FRIM used sonar technology as an “X-ray” machine to diagnose such trees.

Research officer Ahmad Aza­ruddin Mohd Noor demonstrated the use of the device called the Picus Sonic Tomography.

“The device generates a 3D image of a tree’s insides, effectively identifying decay and cavities in the trunk,” said Ahmad Azaruddin, a certified arborist (professional in cultivating, managing and the study of trees) who has helped local councils manage trees.

“A tree that has become 30% hollow can fall in the event of a thunderstorm. If that happens, it can be very dangerous,” he said.

To prevent this, his team would usually prune it to preserve its structural integrity.

He said the team would do its best to preserve a tree due to its benefits to the urban ecosystem.

“We will be forced to cut it down only if the damage is too severe,” he said, adding that less than 20% of trees faced such a problem.

“In the cities, it only happens to trees that are more than 100 years old or those with roots that have been damaged.

“In the forests, the usual culprits are termites,” he said.

Dr Latif said as trees feel stress, FRIM closes its canopy walkway on Mondays and Fridays to let them rest.

“Our canopy walkway can accommodate 200 visitors a day. We don’t want to give the trees too much stress,” he said.

He also said Malaysians should be proud of FRIM’s man-made tropical forest as it was the world’s largest and oldest.

The forest covers seven arboreta (repositories of living plants) and a botanic garden.

He said it was originally an abandoned mining land and that the Forestry Department, which owned less than a hectare of it, planted its first tree there in 1923.

“Today, it spans 544.3ha and houses 73 out of 92 critically endangered plants in Malaysia,” he said, adding that more than 1.3 million people visited FRIM last year.

Dr Latif said FRIM prided itself as a community-friendly institute that facilitated learning and embraced outstanding universal values.

“Because of this, we are working towards being gazetted as a Unesco World Heritage site by 2020.”

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Environment , frim , trees , sick

   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

Next In Nation

Perak govt says RM80k allocated under state disaster fund distributed in the form of cash, food boxes
Suhakam disappointed annual report not debated in Parliament
Muhyiddin meets PAS, Umno presidents to strengthen party ties
Covid-19: 20 Immigration officers test positive
Tok Pa: Govt speeding up development projects to minimise effects of Covid-19 pandemic on economy
This isn't a drive-thru ma'am: Woman accidentally drives into petrol station convenience store in Bangi
Top Glove says it will improve workers' accommodations
Speaker: Pasir Salak MP calling Syed Saddiq a 'budak' just a joke, no bad intentions
Covid-19: Two new clusters detected in Sabah, says Health DG
Covid-19: 1,472 new cases, three fatalities bring death toll to 363 (updated)

Stories You'll Enjoy