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December 4, 2010

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Home » Metro » Environment

Ancient trees are out of luck

ACCORDING to Chinese superstition, if an ancient tree grows in your neighborhood, you'll enjoy better fortunes.

And as a result of this belief, real estate developers are trying to transplant old trees into developments to raise the value of apartments.

Recently, the fifth phase of the Dahua Qingshuiwan Garden development in Putuo District included an 80-year-old camphor as its centerpiece. The tree, with a trunk 2 meters in diameter, is regarded as a neighborhood treasure.

An official with the community, who was not willing to be named, said that the camphor came from a "mountainous area," and cost about 100,000 yuan (US$15,150).

She said the tree would not only improve the ecological conditions of the whole community, but would also bring good luck to residents.

Shanghai Daily has found many real estate ads on the Internet whose selling point was "ancient trees." A developer of a Minhang District neighborhood even claimed to have hundreds of ancient trees.

The trees, however, may easily die because of the change in environment, experts said.

"The trees may be over-pruned to fit in with the community," said Li Li, director of the Greenery Management Committee under the Shanghai Greenery and the Public Sanitation Administrative Bureau. "Some could die within one or two years."

Li, however, said authorities could do nothing to deal with the situation, as their power only covers ancient trees in Shanghai, which are prohibited from being moved.

"We urged lawmakers to make regulations on cross-provincial ancient trees protection, but they found the law would be difficult to adopt in practical operations," she said.

Li said trees rooted in Shanghai for five years or more are incorporated into local legislation, and cannot be moved without permission.


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