Tree Planting in Hong Kong | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Tree Planting in Hong Kong


When I look at old pictures, photographs of Hong Kong in the 1800's I am always amazes how the landscape looked like at that time. Really like a barren rock. It looked to me like on the surface of another planet. No trees at all, especially midlevels and peak area.

How did this started by planting trees ? It must have been an enormous task to plant so many trees. Has this been done also on small islands like Green Island and Ap Lei Chau Island and others ?

I have tried to look for any answers on the website, but I could not find much.

Could anybody be so kind to explain to me how this has been started and when / Over what kind of period has this been made. Thank you.

Moreover I read something lately of the many streams, around Midlevels and the Peak, which featured the landscape of that particular area. It must as well have been a enormous task to redirect these streams. Is there a map, where certain streams have been marked in the early stages.? Also have I learned of a ravine which was named after Charles Elliot, called the Elliot Ravine. Any information on that perhaps?

Thank you very much in advance for all informations, which can bring me a bit further with my search. Thank you and all the best and kind regards, Daniel


I'm afraid I can't help on when or whether a programme of planting trees in Hong Kong was begun. I only know that there was a post of Superintendent of the Botanical and Forestry Department and that his annual report was included in the Government Reports. Because this person (Harold Green) was a friend of my family's in the 1930s, I posted an extract at   The report included how many and where trees were planted; the import of seeds; typhoon damage and theft of trees. It would be worth searching the Government Reports for as far back as the Forestry Department Reports go. Trees were important for shade and there was certainly an effort to replace those that were brought down by typhoons.


There was a very similar request made two years ago


Thank you very much for your kind effort in providing this information. I really appreciate this.

Have a great week and best regards, Daniel

Thanks a lot for your kind help. Well received and appreciated.

Have a great week and best regards,  Daniel


During my time in Hong Kong 1957-8, the vast majority of the hills behind and above Little Sai Wan (Siu Sai Wan) were basically treeless (except in some of the ravines).  Short grass enabled us to walk freely over the slopes of Pottinger Peak and behind Big Wave Bay.  Some of my colleagues who lived at the Lyemun camp for a time a few years earlier took photographs on Mt Parker (see the 367 Association gallery) and the same applied there.  One or two of my photographs taken in 1981 show that the hills were increasingly becoming covered in low scrub, which is now very dense and basically impenetrable.  I doubt whether this was planted, but it must help to avoid soil erosioin and it also createes a wild life habitat.  As far as I know there has not been a programme of tree planting on the hills on the Eastern side of the island.

Information on the Reafforestation Policy from 1947. See here . Prior to WWII, an update from 1935. See here