Problems and management of Acacia-dominated urban forests on man-made slopes in a subtropical, high-density city.
Acacia spp. are exotic tree species that have been widely planted on man-made slopes in Hong Kong since the 1960s. However, as they become mature and senescent, they may become a concern and cause various problems, including soil constraints for plant growth, decreasing provision of intended ecosystem services, declining syndromes, arrested succession, and high risk of failure. In this perspective paper, we present and discuss these problems using practical examples of Acacia-dominated urban forests on man-made roadside slopes in Hong Kong, based on a cross-disciplinary survey and a literature review. To conclude, we suggest that selective cutting, specific silvicultural operations of Acacia plantations, and the management of plantation edge and soils can be exercised, along with the planting of native species, to potentially alleviate these problems associated with mature Acacia plantations, by promoting the establishment of native forests, enhancing biodiversity, expediting succession, and providing better ecosystem services.