How Do Mangroves Escape the Salt?

Interviewed: Alison Kim Shan Wee, molecular ecologist (kimshan.wee[at]nottingham.edu.my)

(Photo: Awash in sea water twice daily, mangrove trees have adapted to the challenging environment | Pic by Alison Kim)

HOW ARE mangroves, which grow by tropical and subtropical coasts, the same as plants in the deserts or the Arctic? Well, they are all extremophiles — a group of organisms that are able to thrive in extreme environments. 

According to molecular ecology researcher Alison Kim Shan Wee, mangrove trees can live in soil of high salt levels, which could kill most other trees.

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Pewarisan Balu Perumal

Adakah antara kamu seorang yang bijak dan pandai? Dia harus membuktikannya dengan kelakuannya yang baik, dan melalui kebajikan yang diamalkannya dengan kerendahan hati dan kebijaksanaan. Alkitab, Yakobus 3: 13

Ditulis oleh Ginny Ng SL dengan Chin Sing Yun, Dylan Ong, Joanna Tang and Surin Suksuwan. Diterjemah oleh Noorainie Awang Anak.

PADA saat saya menerima berita mengenai pemergian Balu Perumal pada 6 Ogos 2021, saya seperti terkedu, tidak percaya. Saya jarang berkomunikasi dengannya, hanya sekali-sekala ketika mengikuti persidangan dan mesyuarat-mesyuarat yang mana kami mempunyai kepentingan bersama.

Saya terus terbayang bagaimana keluarganya dan juga dunia pemuliharaan telah kehilangan seseorang yang amat berharga, seorang pejuang mereka.

Balu adalah seorang pengiat pemuliharaan sepanjang hayatnya, pakar botani, mentor, guru, ketua keluarga, dan juga seorang sahabat.

(Gambar: Seorang pengiat pemuliharaan yang tulin, Balu Perumal [1966–2021] digambarkan pada awal 2000-an meninjau apa yang sekarang ialah Taman Negeri Selangor | Foto oleh Dylan Ong)

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Empower the Dewan to Safeguard Forest Reserves

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)

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Budaya Main Peranan Penting dalam Menyelamatkan Kuda Laut

Kuda laut yang menakjubkan boleh menjadi ikon pemuliharaan laut dan perubahan iklim. Bagi menarik minat rakyat Malaysia, seorang penyelidik mengkaji kepelbagaian budaya yang diamalkan. Diterjemahkan oleh Hanna binti Norhisam.

[Read story in English | 点击阅读中文版]

SETIAP KALI ahli pemuliharaan Reana Ng masuk ke kedai perubatan tradisional Cina (PTC), beliau akan dipandang aneh, katanya dengan ironi. “Mereka tahu anda tidak datang untuk membeli ubat tradisional… Mengapa sebenarnya anda datang ke sini?”

Tanpa menghiraukan pandangan mereka, Ng terus mengunjungi kedai-kedai sebegini. Sejak Mac lalu, pelajar Ijazah Sarjana ini telah mengumpul maklumat mengenai kepelbagaian penggunaan kuda laut dan bagaimana rakyat di Semenanjung Malaysia menggunakannya.

(Gambar: Kuda laut kering digunakan dalam Perubatan Tradisional Cina selama berabad-abad  | Foto: Reana Ng)

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拯救海马, 不离文化

美丽的海马可以成为海洋保育和气候变迁的标志性物种。为了鼓励更多马来西亚人一同保育海马,研究人员正在探索我国使用海马的文化习俗。伍玉盈翻译。

[Read story in English | Baca artikel dalam Bahasa Malaysia]

环保主义者黄美燕(Reana Ng)透露,每当自己走进中药店,就会被店员看穿。她自我调侃地说道:“他们就是知道你不是来买药材的…然后他们会接着问,你来这里做什么?”

即便如此,她丝毫没有退缩,而是继续登门造访更多家的中药店。自从三月起,这位硕士生一直在收集有关海马各种用途,以及居住在马来西亚半岛的人民如何使用海马的资讯。

(图片:干海马在传统中药里的使用经有几个世纪的历史 | 黄美燕)

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The Living Legacy of Balu

Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation of wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. The Bible, James 3: 13

Written by Ginny Ng SL with Chin Sing Yun, Dylan Ong, Joanna Tang and Surin Suksuwan

WHEN I received news of Balu Perumal’s untimely passing on 6 August, I was in disbelief. I had not had regular contact with him, only occasionally catching up during conferences and meetings of common interest.

My immediate thought was how his family and the conservation world will now be poorer because of his absence. For Balu was a lifelong conservationist, botanist, mentor, teacher, family man, and friend.

(Photo: A conservationist to the core, Balu Perumal [1966–2021] is pictured in the early 2000s surveying what is now the Selangor State Park | Pic by Dylan Ong)

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A Response to Macaranga’s Article on Forest Management in Peninsular Malaysia

Our story on evaluating forest management has received insightful feedback from Macaranga reader Surin Suksuwan with many suggestions for improvement. Here is his unedited commentary in full.

FIRST OF all, I would like to congratulate the Macaranga team for continuing to break new grounds in environmental journalism in Malaysia.

The article on Forest Management in Peninsular Malaysia is a commendable effort as it attempts to help the general reader make better sense of the often confusing forestry statistics and what they actually mean in more simple terms.

Already, there is a healthy amount of positive feedback received by the Macaranga team as can be seen from the Comments section.

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State Forestry Departments Share Their Successes

In their own words, state forestry directors in Peninsular Malaysia tell us their major achievements in the last two decades.

IN PENINSULAR Malaysia, state governments and their agencies control forests.

About 85% of the forests are classified as permanent reserve forests and managed by state forestry departments.

For a story that examines 20 years of forest management results, we asked foresters to recount their successes (in 70 words) since 2000.

(Photo: A logging road through a forest reserve in Johor, 2020. Pic by YH Law)

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Are we serious about sustainability?

New research by KPMG shows that the quality of sustainability reports by public listed companies in Malaysia is unlikely to meet investors’ need to assess environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risk. Phang Oy Cheng explains why companies should do more.

IN 2020, KPMG reported that 99 of the top 100 public listed companies in Malaysia publish sustainability reports – a statistic on par with global standards.

But KPMG’s latest research shows that while our compliance to reporting requirements is very good, the quality of those reports with regards to material environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues is wanting.

(Photo: Malaysian sustainability reporting needs to improve | pic of Kuala Lumpur central business district by Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash)

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Loving Malayan Tigers 3000

It’s often cited that Malayan tigers numbered 3,000 in the 1950s. Could that be possible? Biologist Quek Yew Aun examines the evidence for this number.

The Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) is a definitive part of our Malaysian identity. Its presence adorns key icons synonymous to Malaysia, including the national coat of arms and the masthead of a prominent local bank. Even our national football team is nicknamed ‘Harimau Malaya’.

Sadly, the species itself is critically endangered according to the IUCN Red List.

How close a species is to extinction is indicated by the number of individuals remaining in the wild. And wild Malayan tigers have been declining in the past few decades due to factors such as poaching and habitat loss.

However, determining the exact number of Malayan tigers in the wild has always been a challenge.

(Photo: A Malayan tiger in Zoo Negara, 2012. Wild tigers in Malaysia inch closer to extinction but recent concerted conservation efforts bring hope. – Pic by YH Law.)

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