2015-10-25 – Hong Kong Paper Bark Forest
Aspect Ratio: 5:4
Hong Kong Paper Bark Forest
The Hong Kong paper bark forest consists of trees technically known as Melaleuca leucadendra, commonly known as weeping paperbark, long-leaved paperbark or white paperbark is a plant in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae and is widespread in northern Australia. They were introduced into Hong Kong after WW2 to help reforesting the region from Australia.
Today they make an unusual sight in an area and loved by many as they are very photogenic. What I have discovered is that their visual beauty comes at an expense to nature. The tree itself is invasive to local trees as well as wildlife such as birds. The government made recommendations for actions to reintroduce the native species at the expensive of foreign species back in 2010.
Location: Shing Mun Reservoir
The Shing Mun Reservoir represents an area with a long history in Hong Kong. In the 17th century a renegade general left the Ming dynasty and as a pirate built a fortress in the lower part of the river valley. The area previously had been a dense forest with few inhabitants.
In the late 17th century the many Hakkas settled and grew rice, tea and pineapples. By the early 20th century there where seven in the area.
As Hong Kong was seeing a population boom in the Kowloon area the demand for fresh water increased. Construction started in 1933 and was completed in 1937. It was once formally called Jubilee Reservoir (銀禧水塘) to celebrate Silver Jubilee (1935) of King George V of the United Kingdom. Local residents were moved to the New Territories as their villages are now underwater.
Macaque monkeys can be found in the dozens around many of the picnic sites in the woods. Many people including myself spend a few hours walking the entire way around the reservoir. Others go there for a picnic. Don’t be surprised to see a wedding party hiking with you to get to a scenic spot for one of their many wedding pictures. In the forests that look like they come from a Hollywood Alien movie scene you might also find other doing cosplay. Others are crossing the reservoir area as they are walking either the Wilson Trail or MacLehose Trail.
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