EQUIPPED with shovels, spades and 600 tree saplings of tenggek burung (melicope lunu-ankenda) and 30 trees of ramin melawis (gonystylus bancanus), the Selangor State Forestry Department (SSFD) and Global Environment Centre (GEC) led 150 volunteers to a two-hectare degraded area of Raja Musa Forest Reserve (RMFR) in Bestari Jaya, Kuala Selangor.
The mission was to re-plant the degraded area while promoting conservation of peatland and wise use of it in partnership with local community and stakeholders as well as HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd in conjunction with Selangor State Level Celebration of World Wetlands Day 2018.
The event also saw three drones handed over by Selangor State Forestry Department director Datuk Dr Mohd Puat Dahalan to representatives of SSFD Enforcement and Forest Operation Units as well as Hulu Selangor District Forest Office.
These drones will be used for forest protection and to monitor and prevent forest encroachment and peatland fire.
Speaking to the media after launching the event, Dr Mohd Puat said, “Retaining a healthy peatland requires concerted effort by all parties.
“In the case of Raja Musa Forest Rehabilitation Programme, we managed to establish a good partnership with stakeholders, non-governmental organisations, and the local community as well as corporate involvement such as HSBC Bank Malaysia.
“Preserving the peatland area does not mean we are depriving development. It is quite the opposite. Retaining, restoring and preserving this particular Selangor peatland will contribute towards making cities and towns surrounding the forest safe, resilient and sustainable in the long run.”
He added that well-functioning peatland ecosystems had greater resilience to climate change, enhanced economic and biodiversity benefits and contribute towards sustainable development in the state.
“The aim of this event is to promote awareness on climate change and the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through low-emission development and sustainable peatland and forest management.
“RMFR is the perfect example to showcase that a Sustainable Forest Management can effectively tackle climate change,” said HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd chief executive officer Mukhtar Malik Hussain.
He added that since 2011, the bank had made a commitment in supporting the Selangor government and SSFD through GEC to implement the Raja Musa Forest Rehabilitation Programme and Integrated Management Plan for North Selangor Peat Swamp Forest 2014-2023.
GEC director Faizal Parish, who is also an international peatland expert, said “The RMFR is important not only for the forest cover, but also for its role in the hydrology functions of the ecosystem.
“This event is in line with the 2018 World Wetlands Day theme which is Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future that seeks to demonstrate the vital role of wetlands in making cities safe, resilient and sustainable”.
For details on the rehabilitation programme and how to get involved, visit www.gec.org.my or the Selangor State Forestry Department website.