Menggunakan Parang untuk Menyambungkan Hutan
Di kawasan Hilir Kinabatangan, Sabah, sekumpulan wanita menggunakan parang, memandu bot dan menjaga anak-anak pokok, untuk menyambungkan kawasan hutan yang telah terkesan akibat aktiviti pembalakan. Inilah suara mereka.
Diterbit: Disember 4, 2021 [Updated Disember 17, 2021]
Wielding Parangs to Grow a Forest
In Sabah’s Lower Kinabatangan, a group made up entirely of mothers and housewives is wielding parangs, driving boats and nurturing saplings to link forests. These are their voices.
Text and images by Chen Yih Wen.
Published: November 29, 2021 [Update December 17, 2021]
Despite widespread protests, the Selangor government has excised parts of the Kuala Langat North forest reserve on 12 August 2021. This is a wake-up call to give the Dewan Undangan Negeri the power to stop excision, argues forestry consultant Teckwyn Lim.
The recent degazettement of Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve is a black mark on our democracy. The Selangor state executive council (Exco) headed by Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari gave the middle-finger to the Dewan and to the Rakyat.
It appears that the weak hands of the Exco can be twisted by powerful commercial and political interests. It is thus now time that the Dewan amends the forestry laws to limit the Exco’s power to excise forest reserves.
(Photo: A screenshot of the gazette published on 12 August 2021 announcing the Selangor Exco’s decision to excise parts of the Kuala Langat North forest reserve | Pic by YH Law)
A plantation project in Pahang wants to clear almost 85km2 of primary forest. The Orang Asli who live on the site have been protesting the logging since 2019. But there are two letters signed by the illiterate villagers which purportedly show their support for the logging. What happened?
A version of this story first appeared on Southeast Asia Globe on 21 June 2021.
OMAR RANI is an Orang Asli who lives in the village of Kampung Berengoi in Pahang. Omar and his fellow Orang Asli villagers are illiterate – or as they put it: “We haven’t gone to school”.
Last year, they were asked to sign letters to receive free houses from private company YP Olio Sdn Bhd. Though unable to read a word, Omar and the villagers signed them; they trusted the government officers who accompanied the company’s representatives.
(Photo: The Orang Asli at Kampung Berengoi and Kampung Mesau gathered to speak out against logging around their homes. Rani (first left), Sani (second left), Omar (seated center), Abdullah (first right). Pic by Aminah A/P Tan Kay Hoe.)
From flowering plants to butterflies , invasive species are taking over Batu Caves. This alarming threat to the fragile limestone ecosystem needs addressing.
WE HAD trekked up Batu Caves for about 10 minutes when botanist Dr Ruth Kiew turned to me and asked, “Can you see the difference in the vegetation?”
“Between limestone and non-limestone vegetation, you mean?”
I scanned the plants before me. This was pre-pandemic times and I had been researching limestone species from lists provided by Kiew.
(Photo: Invasive species threaten plants like the keladi (foreground), discovered only 2 years ago and found only on Batu Caves, says limestone specialist Ruth Kiew. ~ pic by SL Wong)
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)
#FORESTFILES: PART 4
Juggling between development and environmental conservation is difficult when it comes to forest-use. But there are ways to be more inclusive. This is Part 4 of Forest Files.
MALAYSIA has had decades of continuous economic and population growth since independence.
In 2019, the country achieved a gross domestic production (GDP) of about RM1.5 trillion, more than a hundred-times the GDP in the 1960s. The population almost quadrupled over the same period.
However, before Malaysia industrialised in the 1980s, it exploited its natural resources, including its most accessible at that time: primary forests, some of the oldest in the world.
(Public participation allows citizens affected by forest-use change to voice out; pictured at the North Kuala Langat Forest Reserve degazettement townhall are [clockwise from top] Kg OA Pulau Kempas’s Tonjoi Bin Pipis and Batin Raman Pahat, and Kg OA Busut Baru’s Rosnah Anak Senin. Pics by Shakila Zen/KUASA)
#FORESTFILES: PART 3
To understand forest-use dynamics in Peninsular Malaysia, one must know how state governments – the sole authority on land use – perceive forests. This is Part 3 of Forest Files.
IN AUGUST 2019, when then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched a forestry exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, he took the audience down memory lane.
“At the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, as the Prime Minister of Malaysia back then, I made a pledge that Malaysia is committed to maintain at least 50 percent of our land mass under forest cover,” said Mahathir.
(Photo: Logs, like these harvested from a permanent reserve forest in Johor, are an important source of revenue for many state governments. Pic by YH Law.)