A large number of Old and Valuable Trees catalogued at Fanling have brought about the commencement of tree walking trails, which are designed to educate local school children.
Upwards of 44 per cent of the area that makes up the three courses at the Fanling site of The Hong Kong Golf Club is covered in a forest of trees, making the Club and an important ‘green lung’ in the northern New Territories. The Club places a great importance on trees and employs a horticulturalist, Prisca Tsui Yuk-chun, who leads a team of five full-time staff.
The Club has completed a tree survey, which is still on-going, and the results are impressive. There are nearly 100 different species of tree on the property including three species that are deemed by the Hong Kong Government as being Old and Valuable, and are therefore protected by law.
Since 2004, the Government’s Register of Old and Valuable Trees (OVTs) has recorded 474 trees – and at the Club alone there are 409 of trees that potentially fall into this category.
Out of the 409 potential OVTs, 114 of them are rare and protected species (71 Aquilaria sinensis, 9 Keteleeria fortune, 4 Artocarpus hypargyreus, 30 Glyptostrobus pensilis). At least 80 trees would meet the criteria to be registered as OVTs based on their DBH exceeding over 1m and 2 trees would qualify as their height exceeds 25m. In the tree survey conducted in 2013, there were 213 trees that were between 20m to 24m in height and these may reasonably be expected to have grown to be 25m or over in the past 6 years, thus also qualifying them to be potential OVTs. These mainly include tree species such as Banyan trees, Horsetail trees, Weeping Ficus and Lemon-scented Eucalyptus etc.
Therefore, the combined total of potential OVTs may include the 114 rare and protected trees + 80 recorded potential OVTs based on DBH over 1m + 2 trees that exceed 25m in height +213 trees expected to be 25m in height = 409 potential OVTs.
The Club maintains a comprehensive database of all trees measuring 30 centimetres in diameter to facilitate their planned management. Such information includes species, age and height, and is also accompanied by a photo.
Some of the tree species at Fanling include banyan, many of which are over 80 years old, eucalyptus (there are some particularly special examples of these by the right side of the 16th tee of the Old Course) as well as indigenous camphor trees, acacias, ironwoods, Norfolk pines and paper barks.
New trees are planted each and every year to add colour and diversity to the property, which many have described as being just as much an arboretum as a place to play golf.
The Club has undertaken more surveys including a study on the varied birdlife that make Fanling their home.
Tree Walking Trails
Because of the rich diversity of trees at Fanling, the Club currently runs educational guided tours for schools and NGOs which will be carried out on specially designed tree trails over the Old Course.
Groups including children from schools in the local area have been welcomed on regularly scheduled trail walks, enabling them to learn and understand more about the natural environment of Hong Kong.
The grand opening of the tree walking trails took place on 17 April, 2015 with Sheung Shui District Council officiating at this landmark occasion.