Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) in Sungai Pulai, Johor, plan to conduct 20 research projects within the next three years to study the mangrove system in the area.
UMT Assoc Prof Dr Behara Satyanarayana said the Mangrove Research Unit’s research would strive to identify any signs of pollution that the government could promptly address to prevent escalation.
“Sungai Pulai is a dynamic place, and we chose this location because there are no scientific journals on it yet.
“We have also conducted research at the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve in Perak, so now we are expanding our study to Johor.
“Johor is one of the fastest developing economic corridors in the country, so there might be some issues that are overlooked or unknown that could pose a threat to the ecosystem,” he told StarMetro.
He was speaking after taking part in the launching ceremony of Global Mangrove Alliance (GMA) Malaysia chapter with the Mangrove Conservation Fund for Sungai Pulai at the recent Asia-Pacific Climate Week (APCW) 2023 at Persada International Convention Centre in Johor Baru.
He added that Malaysia had a total of 629,038ha of mangrove areas, of which 60% are in Sabah, followed by 22% in Sarawak and 18% in the peninsula.
Meanwhile, UMT Assoc Prof Dr Izwandy Idris from the Mangrove Research Unit plans to conduct research on the relationship between marine worms and mangroves.
“The retail price for bait worms can range between US$67 (RM312) and US$192 (RM896) per kg.
“It is not a well-known industry, and in Malaysia, it is mostly done by the people on the east coast.
“Not everyone is involved in this industry as it is dirty and dangerous,” he said, adding that the study in Sungai Pulai would also reveal the species of bait worms in the area.
GMA Malaysia founding member Norita Ja’afar said the NGO was collaborating with UMT to find ways to expand the mangrove area in the country by 20% within the next 10 years.
“The mangrove areas have been declining for the past few years, and we hope to get more researchers and policymakers to drive this agenda with us.
“GMA is introduced as a channel to help the private sector organise their mangrove replanting efforts with the help of the Forestry Department.
“Mangrove seeds must be planted in a suitable area.
“The Johor government has requested that we start our replanting work in Muar,” said Norita.
Johor investment, trade and consumer affairs committee chairman Lee Ting Han said more than 3,800 people registered for APCW 2023.
The event featured 20 forums each day covering conservation and sustainability.
A total of 300 local and international speakers were involved.
Lee said the programme also drew civil servants from the state and Federal governments, and hoped that all the knowledge they gained could be incorporated into their policy-making.
APCW 2023 was one of four regional climate weeks held this year ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 28, which will be held in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, by the end of this month.