CAMERON HIGHLANDS: The Forestry Department has embarked on a programme to plant 1,000 trees here in an effort to rehabilitate destroyed areas in forest reserves.
A total of 260 schoolchildren took part in the programme with the cooperation of seven corporate bodies at the Terla B Forest Reserve.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said it was vital that the lush forests of the highlands be conserved with care.
“Cameron Highlands, with its 38,079ha-wide tracts of forest reserves, contains a very sensitive ecosystem which has contributed greatly to the main source of income for its residents.
“Even so, many forest areas have been decimated to make way for farming activities and infrastructure development.
“Therefore it has become an immediate concern to restore and rehabilitate destroyed forest areas before it is too late,” he said when launching the programme.
The programme saw the planting of four tree species – damar minyak (agathis borneensisi), rhu bukit (gymnostoma sumathranum), podo (podocardpus sp) and meranti bukit (shorea platycalados) – covering a land area of 26ha-wide within the forest reserve.
Apart from rehabilitation, Palanivel also launched the ministry’s command centre to enhance information gathering efforts aimed at tackling the ongoing problem of encroachment and illegal land clearing activities.
Palanivel also said that a nationwide campaign launched in 2010 to plant 26 million trees by 2014 had already exceeded its target.
“We have successfully planted 53.13 million trees throughout Malaysia, covering an area of over 65,000ha. We hope to reach at least 80 million trees within the next five years,” he said.