JOHOR BARU: The nomination of Endau Rompin Johor National Park as an Asean Heritage Park (AHP) is expected to boost its image as an important conservation site in Johor.
Johor tourism, youth and sports committee chairman Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi said the state was grateful for the recognition.
“The nomination reflects the state government’s efforts to conserve the protected park as a priceless state and national treasure, ” he said.
“We are hopeful the nomination will be considered by Asean ministers next year. The Johor government will do all it can to ensure that ecotourism potential is explored and can be promoted not only within Asean but on a global level, ” he said.
Energy and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah said it would be the fourth AHP for Malaysia after the National Park in Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu; Kinabalu National Park (Sabah) and Mount Mulu National Park (Sarawak).
“The nomination of the Endau Rompin Johor National Park will, among others, enhance its image as an important conservation area in Johor and the second National Park in Peninsular Malaysia, strengthening management of the park based on ‘best management practices’ on par with the management of protected areas in the region and internationally.
“Apart from that, it also enhances the networking and cooperation of protected areas between the country and other countries, ” he said in a statement.
AHP is a regional cooperation initiative to manage the networking of protected areas in the Asean region, which is unique, with biological diversity and important ecological values.
The matter was agreed by Asean member countries through the Asean Declaration on Heritage Parks and Reserves 1984 signed by Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand on Nov 29,1984.
The Endau Rompin Johor National Park is covered by over 90% of tropical rainforests and ecosystem, with 80 globally endangered plant species listed under the IUCN Endangered Species Red List, comprising critically endangered (three species), endangered (16) and vulnerable (26).The park is also an important habitat for the conservation of endangered mammals, especially the Malayan tiger, Malayan tapir, sun bear and Asian elephant.
Shamsul said the ministry will submit the park’s nomination documents to the AHP secretariat in the Philippines for consideration by the Asean working groups as well as approval at the Asean Ministers level next year.
He said the nomination reflected Malaysia’s seriousness in preserving and acknowledging protected areas as an invaluable national treasure.
He called on all state governments to also take the initiative to submit nominations for international recognition such as AHP as it can help in the promotion of the tourism sector, not only in Malaysia and in the Asean region but also internationally.
“However, before the potential of ecotourism is aggressively explored, development and management of ecotourism areas must be implemented sustainably to ensure that the existing flora, fauna and ecosystem are always preserved, ” he added.
For that purpose, he said carrying out a capacity study must be implemented and ensure ecotourism operators comply with the capacity limit.
He said the effort was also in line with Asean’s intention for conservation measures to be implemented to maintain ecological processes and genetic diversity, ensure the preservation of biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as conserve forest areas that have high value in terms of culture, education, research, recreation and ecotourism.
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