University students save old camphor tree
TAIPEI, Tajiwan -- An old camphor tree over 70 years old in Taipei City was saved by a group of students of the National Taiwan University and nearby residents Saturday when a land developer was about to clear it from a piece of land in order to start the construction of an apartment building.
The land developer held a briefing in May, explaining it wanted to remove the tree and transplant it elsewhere. However, residents in the neighborhood and faculty and students of the university insisted that removal of the old camphor tree would spoil the “green tunnel” formed by old trees along the road where the tree is located.
Several protests have been held over the past few months whenever the developer sends in workers to remove the tree, whose ownership is ambiguous. Pan Han-shen, secretary-general of the Green Party Taiwan, said Saturday that trees should be considered public properties. The land developer, however, has argued that as owner of the land, the company is entitled to decide whether to remove the tree.
The land developer complained that the construction project has been delayed for months and caused serious losses to the company. It is hoping that the city authorities will make a decision over the tree transplantation proposal as soon as possible.
For now, the old camphor tree is saved because under the city bylaw, before the Bureau of Public Works issues an approval to the land developer, it cannot be touched, and the land developer has not received a written permission from the bureau stating it can remove the tree, according to Pan.
Despite the fact that the Taipei City Government has put into enforcement the Taipei City Tree Protection Bylaw since April 2003, many old trees in the metropolitan area have been uprooted, with some transplanted, in recent years by land developers.
Under the tree protection bylaw, old trees aged over 50 years and big trees with the girth exceeding 15 meters or the height reaching 15 meters are under protection.
To root up a protected tree for whatever purposes needs the approval of the city government's Bureau of Public Works. Usually the authorities would approve the cases when proper arrangements for transplantation are made.
儘管台北市早已在2003年四月即施行台北市樹木保護條例，但都市裡的許多老樹仍然在最近幾年中，陸續被建商斷根遷移。依據樹木保護條例，樹齡超過五十年的老樹、樹圍達15公尺 (譯註: 此處報導有誤, 應為2.5公尺) 或樹高超過公尺的大樹應受保護。若基於任何原因欲遷移受保護之樹木，則需經過市政府公共工程局的同意。在具備適當移植措施的情況下，通常政府會許可移植案。