This is not the first time. Chiang Mai regularly sees gross acts of tree vandalism both by private land holders and state actors.
People continually complain about chopping trees near powerlines when seldom is it necessary and almost never done in a way respectful of the tree’s needs.
Lopping trees gracing the edge of a canal in a park, not by a walking track, can never be justified, nor can cutting green fronds from a slow growing palm tree.
A common line of thinking by people who work in parks in Thailand, appears to be that people like themselves understand the needs of trees better than do the trees. People seem to think they must intervene to make a tree grow straight and be without foliage below two or three metres. There is no appreciation of the fact that trees require leaves to grow and that every green leaf produces sugars to build the wood of the growing tree. Cutting off lateral branches does not mean the tree will grow taller faster, quite on the contrary, growth will slow and the tree’s ability to compete for light may be so reduced that it dies.
The big wild trees that we may have the good luck to see in the forest have, of course, grown straight and shed their lower branches all in good time without human assistance.
It is a disgrace that having grown trees for decades for the public the Royal Forest Department has failed to teach the basics of tree care , not just to the general populace, but more particularly to government officers who control public resources.
Also one must question what universities and colleges are doing in this regard. One only has to walk around Chiang Mai University grounds to see unnecessary lopping of trees and saplings with bark stripped from the base by over use of power strimmers, to see the detachment of the boffins from the world of nature around them.
This post arises from a walk on the park. I took a few snaps below to illustrate the comments above, thinking of urging some action from the community and calling for training sessions to be conducted by Mae Jo University which teaches Landscape design and management.
I continue to advocate such training. However when I found a large limb cut from a tree struggling to grow because of shade from larger trees, I could not resist visiting the station master to suggest the contracting company, a cleaning firm with no horticultural expertise, be instructed to desist from cutting trees in the public Railway Park.
I have raised this issue numerous times before and feel the right to demand supportive action, as like Queen Victoria I “am not amused”.