With new lockdowns and closure of international borders, wildlife has been an increasingly common sight in Malaysia’s urban areas. But what does this mean? This commentary was first published on Channel News Asia and is republished here with permission.
[First posted May 27, 2021]
WHO DOESN’T like animal videos? Malaysians certainly do.
With unending COVID-19 lockdowns, a subset of these have become social media favourites: Wild animals in urban areas.
Such visuals feed into the pandemic mantra of “Look how nature recovers when we humans are out of the picture”. But how true is that?
(Photo: Visuals of cute animals in human environments have been going viral during Covid-19; this one hasn’t but registers on the cute scale ~ Pic by Nuratiqah AR )
Continue reading Covid Provides Relief for Wildlife – but Not Really
Though already a World Heritage Site, Kinabalu needs geopark status to conserve oft overlooked natural values, argues geologist Felix Tongkul.
MOUNT Kinabalu, Malaysia’s tallest mountain, is now being assessed for UNESCO Global Geopark status. The proposed geopark encompasses not just the mountain, but the park in which it sits as well as the surrounding districts of Kota Belud, Kota Marudu and Ranau, an area of 4,750 square kilometres.
Kinabalu Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.
Why is there a need for more recognition for Kinabalu Park from UNESCO? Is the Global Geopark status more superior to the World Heritage Site status? What is so interesting about geoparks? These are valid questions I often hear from my friends.
(Photo: Mount Kinabalu is the only glacial landscape in the tropical region. Glacial erosion from melting ice 10,000 years ago formed these parallel grooves. – Pic by Felix Tongkul.)
Continue reading Geopark Not Just Another Label for Kinabalu
Last year, tropical forest loss increased worldwide but Malaysia cut down less than it did the previous year, the fourth year it has done so. What explains this good news?
[First posted on 27 April, 12.17pm.]
Last year, the world lost 12% more tropical forest than it did in 2019, according to satellite census by forest monitoring platform Global Forest Watch. Malaysia bucked the global trend: it lost less.
In fact, Malaysia has trimmed its primary forest losses four years in a row. Losses fell from about 185,000 hectares in 2016 to nearly 73,000 hectares in 2020 (Figure 1).
At the same time, there is a slow down in the expansion of the sector most frequently linked to deforestation – oil palm. Oil palm area in Malaysia contracted in 2020 – the first drop in 44 years.
Could this explain Malaysia’s recent downtrend in primary forest losses? And can we expect forest loss to drop further?
(Photo: Malaysia has been losing less primary forest since 2016. Graph: YH Law)
Continue reading Can Oil Palm Explain The Lower Forest Loss Here?
[Updated 29 July 2021]
Funds and political support are reinvigorating the Pan Borneo Highway project in Sabah. But is there time to consider ways to mitigate its environmental and socioeconomic impact?
WITH 2,239 kilometres of new roads to be built by 2025, the Pan Borneo Highway is expected to boost connectivity, tourism and trade in and between Sabah and Sarawak.
Parts of the current route, however, would severely impact the environment and local communities, say local NGOs and researchers.
Continue reading Must the Pan Borneo Highway Dissect the Tawai Forest?
When floods hit Kemaman, terrapin conservationist Chen Pelf Nyok raised funds to help her local partners who had supported conservation.
In early January, floods hit Kemaman, Terengganu, the district where Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia (TCS), the organization I lead, is based.
Many villages were flooded. My husband asked if we should begin raising funds to help the villagers who were our project partners.
I said no.
(Photo: Flood devastated Kemaman, Terengganu, in early January 2021. Pic from Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia.)
Continue reading Locals Make Terrapin Conservation Successful
Locals must be involved in managing their own islands and island resources, says Julian Hyde. It is better for community empowerment and for nature.
“CO-MANAGEMENT of natural resources”: It is in the National Policy on Biological Diversity; it is in the Convention on Biodiversity (of which Malaysia is a signatory); it is in the Sustainable Development Goals.
It is everywhere, except in the communities where it matters most.
(Photo: All together now: Tioman islanders and NGO members remove reef-smothering ghost nets. Pic by Reef Check Malaysia)
Continue reading Islander Partners Improve Resource Management
Drawing from her environmental experience in three sectors, Ginny SL Ng is concerned that environmental NGOs are not future-proofing themselves.
SO, THE year 2020 has been a blast, hasn’t it? There has been much said and written about the impact of the epidemic and the new normal, and the many communities and sectors that have suffered due to an economy built heavily on travel and consumption.
Unfortunately, one of the sectors that may continue to face such challenges after the pandemic is the non-profit or civil society sector.
(Photo: Being territorial is fine for tigers; less so for NGOs. Pic by Ginny SL Ng)
Continue reading NGOs Dangerously Stuck In The Rut