After centuries of cutting and burning, some of the Hong Kong hillsides gave an overall impression of dry barren soil. Only vegetation in some steep ravines and the Fung Shui woods behind villages in the New Territories remain largely intact.
Afforestation has been carried out in Hong Kong as early as 1870s. The major purposes for this have shifted from amenity reasons, erosion control, production of firewood, improving water supplies and to the current interest in biodiversity enhancement and ecological restoration.
Early afforestation effort was concentrated on the use of the local pine, Pinus massoniana and fast growing exotic species such as Lophostemon confertus and Acacia confusa. Native species have been used more often in the last 30 years.
To date, seeds of over 100 native species have been collected to produce seedlings for afforestation.
Some of the successful examples of native species used for afforestation are Machilus species, Castanopsis fissa and Schima superba.
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