IN conjunction with World Environment Day on June 5, Kuala Lumpur-based non-profit conservation group Wild Asia will be organising a series of events in June as part of its River of Life programme in Tanah Merah.
Wild Asia founder and director Dr Reza Azmi said the work here focuses on the 14km long Sungai Janging, which, cutting across 4,500 of oil palm plantation land, provided the only natural connection between Lukut's mangrove forests and the forested hill slopes of Bukit Siamang.
“This river not only provides a natural link for wildlife but also a link to a wider community in terms of fishing, transport, and agriculture. In recent years however, Sungai Janging has become degraded and polluted and many of the biodiversity values have been lost,” said Reza.
As the first step towards Tanah Merah’s River of Life programme, some five to 10 metres riparian buffer zones have been set to allow natural regeneration of grasses and shrubs and to improve quality of the plantations' water resources. For this purpose, a water quality monitoring programme had also been put in place.
Some of the priorities of the project would be on rehabilitation of the river, enhancing biodiversity values, extension of the mangrove reserves, reducing sedimentation of streams and drains during the replant phases and implementing environmental education programmes with primary schools within the area.
In relation to primary schools, there is an event on June 6 with activities planned for six schools within Tanah Merah, on outdoor environmental programs.
Reza said a variety of trees are being planted along Sg Janging's edges and within unplanted reserves to enhance their biodiversity values. As for sustainability of the project, he said Wild Asia has the commitment from plantation managers to ensure the success of the project. “Ultimately, they too hope to see the river is brought to life and that the natural corridor is able to provide linkages or havens for wild species to exist. The environmental education awareness with local schools and training workshops with plantations management will create a sense of ownership and responsibility towards the environment, thus ensuring the long-term sustainability of the project.
Those wishing to know more about the Natural Corridor Initiative and River of Life project can email firstname.lastname@example.org