HISTORY OF ARBORICULTURE AND ARBORIST CERTIFICATION IN MALAYSIA
Intensive urban greening has already been carried out in Malaysia more than three decades. During this period, many changes on policy and implementation strategies of urban greening have been introduced towards the betterment of the urban forestry and landscape development in the country. However one of the areas that have not received adequate attention is in the field of tree care. Tree care has always been overlooked and as a matter of fact, it has been overshadowed by unprecedented tree planting activities that have been carried out over the years. Lack of maintenance coupled with poor practices in urban tree maintenance is becoming quite alarming manifested by poor quality of urban trees performance and the extent of risk and hazard pose by urban trees.
Realizing the importance of proper tree maintenance in successful urban forest management, FRIM have taken step to introduce Landscape and Tree Maintenance Course in 1995. The course it still running until today and very well received by the landscape contractors as well as amongst the municipality’s park and recreation departments to send their technical staff and ground workers for training. To date, more 1500 landscape contractors and municipality’s tree maintenance staff attended the course. The objectives of the course amongst other to inculcate tree maintenance culture by understanding the basic inspiration of landscaping and urban forestry, understanding basic tree biology, soil, pest and diseases and promote proper tree planting and pruning techniques.
In view of the need to further improve FRIM’s Landscape and Tree Maintenance Course and the need to upgrade the level of technical competency of urban tree care practitioners and contractors, FRIM seen Arborist Certification Program under the auspice of International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) is one of the potential programme to engage with. During World Forestry Research Progress (IUFRO 2000) held in Kuala Lumpur, FRIM was approached by representative from Denmark who proposed to have technical and research collaboration called Twinning Programme between both countries. A few technical trips were organized for the project team member to visit Copenhagen City to study urban greening and urban tree management in Denmark. Urban Forestry Unit in FRIM had a project entitled Urban Forestry and Urban Greening in collaboration with 2 other agencies i.e. City Hall and University Putra Malaysia. Under this project FRIM had proposed Arborist Certification Programme as one of the activities that can have impact on uplifting the standard of tree maintenance of urban trees in our country. To FRIM this is also one of venue to train the trainers to strengthen and enhance the knowledge of Research Officers that involve in carrying out research and providing landscape and tree care training in FRIM.
The introduction of Arborist Certification Program was only materialized in June 2005 and it was one of the historic moment in the development of landscape and urban forestry development in Malaysia. The success of the first Arboriculture Certification Programme in Malaysia can be attributed to the support of DANIDA under the ‘Twinning Programme’.The workshop was successfully attracted 30 participants from government and private institutions partially sponsored by the Twinning Projects where 23 of them were successfully certified as an arborist. Following that FRIM has formed Pro-temp Committee to form Arborist Association, and now known as PArM to promote tropical arboriculture and continue Arborist Certification Programme in Malaysia.
**Credit to CA Tn. Hj. Adnan Mohammad, FRIM