Hanoi mulls replacing decades-old iconic trees

By Vo Hai   June 3, 2017 | 08:12 am GMT+7

More than 4,000 African mahogany trees will be gradually cut down to prevent accidents during rainstorms.

The Department of Construction has requested a study on Hanoi's African mahogany trees in order to devise a plan to cut down and replace them.

For now the department has proposed felling the trees that are rotten or hollowed out first. 

Eventually all African mahogany trees in the city should be replaced with new kinds of trees that suit the city better, the department has said.

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Hanoi currently has over 4,000 decades-old African mahogany trees. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do.

Most xa cu or African mahogany trees (Khaya senegalensis) in Hanoi were planted during the French colonial era, and the city has stopped planting new ones since 1960.

The large evergreen trees can live for over 100 years and have been providing shade for generations of Hanoians.

However, experts have pointed out that African mahogany trees are not suitable for urban areas as they fall easily during rainy seasons due to the lack of space for their roots.

A total of 132 African mahogany trees were uprooted by strong winds between 2014 and 2016, hurting many people and damaging properties, official data showed. 

Hanoi currently has over 4,000 African mahogany trees, which line main roads such as Hoang Dieu, Le Hong Phong, Hoang Van Thu, Hoang Hoa Tham. Many of the trees have also been trimmed in preparation for the upcoming rainy season.

In 2015, the city implemented a scheme to cut down and replace 6,700 trees across the city. It was later suspended following a strong public backlash.