In-depth research supports need to conserve forest
The rezoning request for the Tai Po Kau forest was backed up by thorough research. To support the application, Ruy Barretto's family worked with half a dozen environmental experts. They produced a book: Tai Po Kau Headland - Conservation Study and Site of Special Scientific Interest Proposal.
The 131-page book detailed the history, geography, flora and fauna, and the problems of existing zoning, and suggested protection of the area.
Research showed there were 77 species of conservation concern in the area, including 26 moth species that are in themselves of international conservation significance.
The book contains support letters written by past and present neighbours, environmental heavyweights such as professor Hu Shiu-ying, former director of agriculture and fisheries Lawrence Lee Hay-yue and former chief secretary Sir David Akers-Jones. 'The proposal is extremely well researched and well written, and able to stand on its own feet,' wrote Sir David.
Mr Barretto said he did not pay much attention to how much he had spent. 'We have been living in the area for a long time, we love the place and we know the forest is very important to Hong Kong,' he said.
The barrister said the idea to conserve Tai Po Kau headland dated back to 1999.