Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Sultan of Selangor's Royal Vision Applauded

Work in Progress: Klang Royal Gardens
(Photo reproduced without permission from The Star, but in accordance with the principles of fair use)


The Regent of Selangor's vision and wisdom in directing the appointed landscape consultant of the Klang Royal Garden to omit expensive structures, retain existing trees, and plant fruiting and flowering trees (Metro, 27th May) has earned His Royal Highness our deepest respect and admiration.

HRH's official edict against the wastage of public funds is highly welcome, especially in the state of Selangor, where colossally expensive yet utterly inessential 'projects', such as Subang Jaya’s 3C Complex and Millennium Park, invariably end up being the bugbear of the taxpayers.

Of greater interest to nature-lovers is our Sultan's directive to plant flowering and fruiting plants, mostly indigenous, to attract local fauna. Not only will an urban park such as the Klang Royal Garden act as a natural air filtration and temperature control system, it could also be an ersatz wildlife habitat. Such a park will provide the local community with aesthetic pleasure as well as opportunities for contact with the natural environment.

Urban parks need more shade trees, and not man-made structures, to provide the local community and park visitors with respite from the heat, pollution and traffic of the city.

Unfortunately, the management bodies of many public spaces do not share the Sultan's farsightedness. At the Dengkil Rest Area along the Elite Highway, for instance, the trees are so closely cropped into topiary shapes that they afford no shade for vehicles and tired highway users, and no perching space for birds and insects.

In discussions with local authorities, nature-based non-profit organisations have always recommended the planting of indigenous fruiting and flowering trees. The typical official response is that such trees are 'messy'. However, if the labour force contracted to prune the trees into topiary shapes could be redirected instead to sweep up and compost the plant waste from the trees, there is no good economic or practical reason why native trees could not replace topiary or artificial plants in our cities and along our highways.

Our city and local councils would be well-advised to take a leaf from the Sultan of Selangor's book and provide more space for, and bring greater positive attention to, our native flora and fauna.


No comments: