Sun, Nov 18, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Taipei government and NGOs team up to plant 350 trees

TREE HUGGER Mayor Hau Lung-bin took a walk on the green side at a ceremony for 350 newly planted trees on land the city government provided


Joining environmental groups and Citibank, the Taipei City Government yesterday made a show of support for the fight against global warming by planting trees on Taipei's Elephant Mountain (象山) to combat carbon emissions and restore the balance of the nearby ecosystem.

"Global warming is affecting the Earth like a fever," Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said at the event. "We urgently need to devise ways to lower the temperature and prevent catastrophic damage."

"Trees not only clean up the air by photosynthesis, but each 30m2 of trees can also lower the noise level in a neighborhood by 6 to 7 decibels," he said.

Chi-sing Eco-conservation Foundation consultant Lu Wen-pen (呂文賓) echoed Hau's comments, adding that trees were key players in keeping the ecosystem healthy.

"A large part of the food chain depends upon trees either for food or shelter," he said.

The project was a three-way collaborative effort, with the city providing the land and saplings, the Society of Wilderness (SOW) and Chi-sing Foundation volunteering to maintain the grove and Citibank and its employees funding their efforts, SOW deputy chairperson Rudy Ko (柯典一) told the Taipei Times.

Thousands of Citibank employees -- as part of the company's Green Citi community service program -- adopted the eco-recovery area and planted 350 trees on it, Citi Taiwan's Morris Li (利明獻) said.

The six-year program will neutralize 10 tonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions annually, the equivalent of a sedan driving around the country 133 times, he said.

"We have chosen to plant Formosan sweetgum, ring-cupped oak, Formosan ash, Formosan Micheliae, Common Elaeocarpus and flamegold -- trees that are indigenous to this habitat -- to restore and strengthen the ecosystem," Lu said.

Ko said that the project was in line with what SOW had been working for over the past 12 years.

"We want to get the public involved in ecological conservation. They don't need to know what sweetgums, ring-cupped oaks or flamegolds are, but we want them to realize and appreciate how important it is to have an ecologically sound and sustainable environment," he said.

"We want to impress on people the importance and beauty of the wild," he said.

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