After Macao was hit by typhoons Hato and Mangkhut, the mountain forests of Macao had been severely damaged. Since 2018, the Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) has continuously carried out ecological restoration of mountain forests in phases and planting of over 125,000 saplings of more than 120 native tree species has been completed. After many years of continuous monitoring, the survival rate of saplings reached over 90% and their growth has been good, and the foundation of safeguarding biodiversity in mountain forests has been established. In the second quarter of this year, the sixth phase of mountain forest restoration will be carried out successively in areas on both sides of Estrada Militar, south of Hac Sá Reservoir and in Long Chao Kok in Coloane, spanning a total area of 35 hectares. It is planned that 35,000 new saplings will be planted next year.
To restore the ecological environment in mountain forests, IAM, with the support of the Forestry Administration of Guangdong Province, jointly formulated the principles and plan for the restoration and optimisation of the ecology of mountain forests with a group of experts from the Guangdong Academy of Forestry based on the characteristics of the mountain forests of Macao. The contractor company for the mountain forest restoration is required to follow the restoration plan formulated by IAM and the mentioned group of experts and carry out restoration and planting in six operational steps, namely keeping the existing tree species, clearing weeds, digging tree pits, applying fertilisers and refilling the pits with soil, disinfection and planting of saplings and care. Once removal of trees in mountain forests is involved, the company is required to strictly follow three principles: only remove wilted trees, trees which are in danger due to disease and invasive plants. IAM will monitor the restoration result jointly with the group of experts.
Healthy mountain forests should encompass biodiversity and include herbs, shrubs and trees. In recent years, many areas of mountain forests in Macao seem green and vibrant, but a large area of the hills have been covered with vines like Hypserpa nitida and Mikania micrantha. These vines severely endanger the growth of plants and the forest area gradually loses its ecological function to provide food source and habitat for organisms, affecting the sustainable development of biodiversity. Furthermore, pioneer tree species planted in the last century in Macao, such as Acacia confusa and Casuarina equisetifolia, have caused many forest areas in Macao to deteriorate due to their short life spans even though they have functions such as transforming the micro-climate environment and fertility of the soil in forest areas. Therefore, it is necessary to remove vines like Hypserpa nitida and Mikania micrantha and restore the ecology of mountain forests by means of afforestation and continuous remedy, so as to protect the biodiversity of mountain forests. According to the data in the “environmental condition report”, the number of species of three types of animals, namely birds, mammals and insects, has increased and the number of species of amphibians, fish and reptiles has held even from 2018 to 2021.