1. Malaysia is blessed with a climate and soil that enables trees to take root and grow very fast. Our success in the plantation industry is due to this. The trees we grow, rubber, oil palm tree and cocoa are foreign to Malaysia yet they grow better here than in the countries of their origins.
2. However, the success of our plantation industry has totally affected out thinking. We know that by planting trees in perfect rows, with the trees separated from each other by a specific distance, we maximise the potential for growth and render the extraction of the latex or the fruits easier and more efficiently. We miss none of the trees when we tap rubber or bring down the fruits.
3. But forest trees do not grow in rows. They are scattered haphazardly. It is this which gives the forest their special appearance or character.
4. For various reasons we have to reaforest the forest we had raped. We also need to create new forests.
5. But because we are so addicted to planting trees in orderly rows, when we want to reaforest or to create a new forest, we plant the forest trees in the same way. Even when we plant teak and other trees on the road shoulders, they are planted in perfect rows. Our secondary man-made forests look nothing like forests at all. They look like tree estates.
6. But there are times when planting on the road sides, we want to create an avenue of trees. Then we should plant just one row of trees or palm trees perfectly aligned and separated. The tree should be the same all the way through. But when we want to recreate forests let the trees be scattered haphazardly like in the forest.