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County News
Takeshi Tree Gains Protection While All Are Encouraged to Safeguard Chishang’s Future
Date: 2015-10-31    
In order to keep people from walking too close to Chishang’s Takeshi Tree (which compacts the surrounding soil and hinders its recovery), EVA Airways arranged for a custom-made base cover to be placed over the base of the tree. EVA stated that this resolution was made after half a year of deliberation and research on tree-care techniques by the Friends of Daan Forest Park Foundation and the tree doctor from Japan who has been caring for the tree.

Takeshi Kaneshiro, a famous film celebrity, starred in EVA’s 2013 “I See You” ad, and the tree in the ad gained instant fame. When Typhoon Matmo hit Taiwan in 2014, the tree was pushed over by fierce winds, and public lament subsequently ensued. A Japanese tree doctor came to rescue the tree through the use of supports and gauze, which led to even more affection for the tree from people in and out of Taiwan. However, people have been unable to restrain themselves from taking pictures with the tree, and as they walk on the soil above the roots, the tree’s recovery is impeded.

The hole a tree grows in is extremely important to the tree’s health. When people compact the soil by stepping on it and thus weaken the soil’s air- and water-permeability, the vitality of the tree is severely compromised. The new base cover allows for space above the tree’s root system. In the soil, galvanized plates with punched holes will separate the roots, and a layer of crystal obsidian was laid for air-permeability. Then, a layer of soil conducive to plant growth was put down before the final sprinkling on top of Bermuda grass seeds (so as to enhance the permeability of air and water). Such measures will help the tree recover gradually while producing green, natural growth below the tree.

A landscape designer has added to the cover to help it meld in with the local natural scenery. It was made of galvanized steel and painted a dark brown, making it both solid and aesthetic. Besides being able to sustain the weight of farm machinery passing over it, it also reduces trauma to the tree caused by tourist foot traffic. The rock and tree are just as they were in the ad, allowing tourists to relive and take pictures of the classic ad scene they love.

The base cover was put in place just before the Chishang Autumn Rice Harvest and Art Festival, which took place on October 31 and November 1 and is an event well-reputed nationwide. About 5,000 tourists from Taiwan and abroad were expected to attend and enjoy performances held on the stage of golden rice fields and majestic mountains. Due to their shared concern for the well-being of Chishang, EVA and the Lovely Taiwan Foundation have not only joined forces in sponsoring this year’s festival, they also worked toward the quick completion of the tree’s base cover before the event began. All are welcome to the festival and encouraged to have a cup of tea at the tree in an experience of Chishang friendliness and warmth.

The Taitung County Government expressed its deepest gratitude to EVA for its efforts toward saving the tree. At least 4-5 more years are required if the tree is to completely recover. The base cover is currently the best way to both protect the tree and maintain the interests of tourism. EVA sincerely thanked the Taitung County Government for cooperating with regard to the cover and repaving the surrounding area. EVA also thanked Wei Rongzeng, administrative head of the village of Wan’an, for adding soil to the tree when needed and watering it every morning.

With the large number of tourists attracted by the Chishang Cultural and Scenic Area, the local residents and businesses have a common cause in maintaining the local natural resources. In addition to helping with environmental protection and traffic control, they have been doing all they can to care for the Takeshi Tree. Besides ongoing cooperation with regards to the tree, EVA and Chishang have continually made ground on their goal of getting tourists to fall in love with Chishang, promoting correct concepts on traveling, and working together to safeguard the future of Chishang