VietNamNet Bridge – The nine century-old trees, glorified as “heritage trees” at the Voi Phuc Temple now have to struggle with the insects.
The heritage trees at Voi Phuc Temple (Photo taken by VACNE in 2010).
The glorying and protection of heritage trees was for the first time put forward at the meetings of environment and culture organizations in 2010. VACNE (the Vietnam Association of Conservation of Nature and Environment) then initiated the recognition of heritage trees on the occasion of the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi City.
Professor Dr. of Science Dang Huy Huynh, Deputy Chair of VACNE, emphasized that heritage trees not only simply mean “ancient trees,” but they are also the witnesses of the nation’s culture, history which need to be glorified and protected.
VACNE then set up a council in charge of analyzing scientific indexes trees (age, trunk diameter, cultural and historical values…).
Right after the association made public the criteria for the recognition of heritage trees, it received the documents from the Voi Phuc Temple’s Vestige Management Board’s Head Nguyen Van Tung, who asked for the recognition of the nine old bachang mango trees at the temple as the heritage trees.
The nine trees, more than 700 years old, which witnessed the construction of the Voi Phuc Temple in the Ly dynasty, were the first old trees recognized as the heritage trees on the occasion of the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi.
VACNE affirmed that all the nine bachang mango trees deserve to be gloried as heritage trees and need serious protection.
However, four years after the recognition, five of the nine bachang mango trees at the Voi Phuc Temple have died.
Tung, who has a strong attachment to the trees for the last 30 years, said he feels broken hearted because of the death of the five trees.
Tung said he shouted for help to the local authorities and VACNE after the first two trees died in late 2012 and March 2013.
In early 2013, VACNE invited the experts from Australia and the Vietnam Forestry Science Institute to visit the trees and find the solutions to save them. However, VACNE could not give financial support to implement the solutions.
As a result, Tung had to borrow money and called for donation from the local people, getting VND60 million to buy medicine to cure the six sick trees.
“The remedy was helpful: all of the six got green again. I saw them blossoming in June 2013. But three of the six began shedding their leaves after that and died in November,” Tung said.
The other four trees are still green, while the remaining two have shown signs of being attacked by the insects, the same signs that Tung saw on the dead trees.
Tung said though he feels very sad, the three dead trees need to be chopped down. He wishes that the city’s authorities can make a decision on removing the trees soon, so that he can plant other trees instead in the spring.
The new bachang mango trees to replace the dead come from Hoa Binh province. They are over 40 years old and 5-6 meters high. It is estimated that each of the tree is valued at VND30 million.
“There must be a population of nine bachang mango trees at the Voi Phuc temple, because “nine” is the number which symbolizes the perpetuation,” Tung said.