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Tian-ho Park is located in Tianmu, Taipei City. 375 trees have grown in the area for the past 20 years and have formed a habitat for the Formosan Blue Magpie, Muller’s Barbet (also known as the Black-browed barbet) and other protected species.

Last year, Tian-ho and the East River Park were elected as the “Secondary Park Plan" for the Taipei World Design Capital Program. But since the plan may destroy more than 100 old trees in the park, residents have submitted a petition on the Internet.

On January 5, the Parks and Streets Lights Office of the Taipei City Government held an on-site inspection in Tian-ho Park. Residents concerned about the park renovation and environmental organizations participated in the event.

Some suspect the necessity of eliminating trees more than 20 years old, while others are concerned about the danger these hollowed trees may bring.

Chen De-hong from the Society of Wilderness (SOW) says, “Perhaps the Parks Office can be bold enough to place some dead wood in the park to let insects grow naturally. From a manager’s point of view, striking a balance between safety and ecology is always crucial."

However, Wu Meng-ling, director of the Forest Protection Division in Taiwan Forestry Research Institute (TFRI), says that hollowed trees do not represent unhealthiness. Sometimes their operation depends on underlying roots. Through improving the quality of the soil and trimming the branches, its safety can be guaranteed if the inclining angles of the trees remain. If there’s still a certain distance between sidewalks and the trees, it’s less possible for any damage."

Wu also says he is in favor with the importance of biodiversity. If the tree falls, the fungus can still grow. However, certain measures should be considered if a dangerous tree is close to the sidewalk.

Pan Han-chiang, chairperson of the Trees Party, says, “We will keep observing the official commitment concerning the minimum destruction of trees and also hope protection will be carried out through the concept of wetland preservation. In addition, investigation on plants and abundant budget for old trees are also important."

As for local ecological organizations, they anticipate professionals to examine the environment, calling on more residents to take part in this issue.

Translated by Yuan-ling Liang
Edited by Olivia Yang