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Tuesday March 28, 2006

Ensuring park stays good for years to come


bavanim@thestar.com.my 

IN ORDER to ensure that the Kota Damansara Community Forest Park near Sungai Buloh stays the way it is for future generations, several organisations have come together and produced a management plan to protect it from any form of encroachment.  

Calling themselves Friends of Kota Damansara, the group is represented by seven residents association (Section 10, Section 9, Section 7, Section 11 Kota Damansara, Tropicana, Bandar Utama, and TTDI). 

The associations, with guidance from Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), launched what they called the Kota Damansara Community Forest Park Management Plan on Sunday. It is to provide them with a direction for planning, building, and maintenance of infrastructure, as well as overall development and management of the forested area.  

MNS president Datuk Dr Salleh Mohd Nor, who had helped to come up with the plan, said it was a way of telling people “what can and cannot be done, and what needs to be done'' with the park.  

Dr Salleh (second from left) and Leong (right) unveiling the sign for the community trail with help from a couple of men during the launch recently.
“It would provide a direction for the future of the park,'' he said. “Basically, its objective is to educate, research and conserve.''  

Dr Salleh said, among the immediate plans for the park, was to set up a management committee to re-gazette and conduct boundary demarcation.  

“We also need to do a detailed inventory of all the wildlife, flora, fauna in the park,'' he added.  

President Leong Kam Heng said Friends of Kota Damansara had earlier worked hard to preserve the Sungai Buloh Forest Reserve by lobbying for its status with the Selangor Government. (The Kota Damansara Community Forest Park is located within the Sungai Buloh Forest Reserve).  

“As a result, we have received a letter from the Town and Country Planning, Peninsular Malaysia (DTCP) director, stating that any plan to develop part of the forest has been shelved in favour of preserving it as a forest reserve.  

“Encouraged, Friends of Damansara has now embarked on another initiative to change the status of the forest reserve concerned from ‘general’ nature to one of a much more 'permanent and specific nature' with emphasis on recreation, research, education, demonstration, and biodiversity,'' he said.  

Leong said with help from MNS, Friends of Damansara were also in the process of formulating a master plan for the sustainable management of the forest reserve, besides inventorying its diversity of flora and fauna.  

Nature lovers and Kota Damansara residents keeping their hopes high at the entrance to the park's trail.
Apart from the production of the Community Forest Park Management Plan, the residents have also successfully opened an educational trail within the Kota Damansara Community Forest Park and are currently in the process of tagging interesting and important trees and other flora types.  

The residents have also produced a comprehensive guidebook, called “A Step Beyond the City'', on the hidden treasures of the park.  

The Kota Damansara Community Forest Park is the last remaining area of what was previously a 1,600ha forest reserve. Established in 1898, it is the oldest forest reserve in Peninsular Malaysia.  

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