Tag Archives: In-Depth

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.

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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。

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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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To Save Seahorses, Culture Matters

[Updated 26 August 2021] The fascinating seahorse can be a marine conservation and climate change icon. To get Malaysians on board, a researcher looks at cultural practices.

[Versi Bahasa Malaysia | 点击阅读中文版]

 

WHENEVER conservationist Reana Ng walks into a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) shop, she gets a “look”, she says wryly. “They just know that you’re not coming in to buy traditional medicine…Why are you here?”

Undeterred, Ng continues to visit these shops. Since March, this Masters student has been gathering information on the many uses of seahorses and on how people in Peninsular Malaysia use them.

(Photo: Dried seahorses have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries | Image by Reana Ng)

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Excision – The Main Threat to Forests in Peninsular Malaysia

#FORESTFILES: PART 2

Decades ago, rampant logging looked set to decimate forests in Malaysia. That is no longer the case but a less familiar force is driving forest change – one over which state governments have full control. This is Part 2 of the Forest Files series.

THE 1970s were the golden age of logging in Peninsular Malaysia, veteran loggers told Macaranga.

Then the federal government came up with the National Forestry Policy in 1978 and the National Forestry Act in 1984 to promote sustainable forestry in the country.

(Photo: A new road snakes through a permanent reserve forest bloc in Johor which was last logged in the 1970s. Composite pic by YH Law.)

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Forest Loss: Under Whose Watch?

How much forest loss is too much? And are the drivers of this loss the same as in the past? In Forest Files, Macaranga examines the dynamics and mechanics of forest-use changes in Malaysia. Our four-part In-Depth series focuses on Peninsular Malaysia, where more forests were lost in the last 30 years than in East Malaysia.

In Part 1, we look at how much forest we actually have, forest-use policies, and forestry decision-makers. In Part 2, we consider a key driver of forest loss – excision from permanent reserve forests. Part 3 asks what drives decision-makers and we end with Part 4 on how citizens could influence forest-use.

(Photo: A bird’s eye view of the protected primary hill and lowland rainforest of the Royal Belum State Park, 2003. Pic by SK Chong/Sasyaz Holdings)

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Marking Attendance

COMMENT BY SL WONG: I KEPT wishing the ICCB 2019 sessions were better attended overall, and by Malaysians specifically. I felt embarrassed for the speakers, seeing so many empty seats in rooms or worse, large halls.

I
wondered if it was especially disheartening for students or early-career
conservationists who had sweated over their presentations.

But
poor attendance really felt like a wasted opportunity at two of the three
panels featuring Malaysian government decision-makers and operations heads.

Audiences—especially
Malaysians—missed out on the chance to listen to, and engage with the civil
servants on policy and operations.

At the one session that saw full attendance, the Director-General of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks even happily got into an exchange with a delegate from another country about how best to trap monkeys that had become pests.

Good engagement

The
saving point for the two poorly-attended sessions was the quality of
engagement. 

For example, at the session featuring the Ministry of Education official, three Malaysian activists shared perspectives and asked probing questions on STEM education. These ranged from the inclusion of conservation subjects, to collaborating with NGOs and scientists, and funding.

The
official fielded all these questions, and one impression that struck me in his
answers was the limitations the Ministry was facing, including budget cuts. He
also asked for patience in implementing the raft of planned policy changes,
which included retraining thousands of teachers.

“Transformation
is taking place by the new government you have elected. We have to wait. Let
the effectiveness take place. It will kick in in the next generation.”

I
wished more people were present to hear that.

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What Price Entry?

BECAUSE of the conversation around the ICCB 2019 registration fee, Macaranga took to Twitter post-congress to conduct a straw poll and carry out a discussion on this issue.

Though with only 25 respondents, the straw poll confirmed that they all found the fee too high.

Macaranga ICCB 2019 Twitter Poll

Twitter discussions saw solutions offered to this issue.

@jkfoon suggested “holding conferences in university rather than 5-star venues, live-stream all conference talks rather than requiring people to fly around to world to attend, reducing the frills like bags, tags, performances etc.”

Others said high speaker fees should be looked at and floated the use of purchasing power parity for differential country pricing.

In contrast, another conservation meeting held days after ICCB in Madagascar, saw local researchers make up 42% of participants. More than half were students.

This was the the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) meeting. As tweeted by ATBC attendee, Malagasy researcher @SarobidyRakoto, the total raised to support local participation at meeting was USD9,000 (RM37,800).

The money was raised by ATBC itself, NGOs and individuals.

Interestingly, a tweet by another ATBC participant—since deleted because it was confusing—gave the impression that foreign researchers attending ATBC had to sponsor a local graduate student. That was not the case.

But the idea went down well with Malaysians discussing the high-registration-fee issue.

“That’s a great model!” said @aini1905 from the ICCB 2019 local organising committee. “Perhaps if we have next <sic> world chapter congress we’d be able to expand this same model.”

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Quality Malaysian Research

COMMENT BY YH LAW: I WAS very happy to see that most Malaysian speakers aced their presentations at ICCB 2019. The younger speakers deserve special praise—they were confident, lively and eager to share their work. 

They presented effectively and answered questions well. They dished out plenty of positive vibes. And often their friends or colleagues were sitting in the audience—peer support must have helped!

Many of the Malaysian talks I went to showcased on-going work or results of their Master theses, which are often a prelude to bigger research projects.

So, I was often left wanting more. But I’m relieved to see that our younger scientists or conservationists are well trained. 

I am disappointed however, that there was no symposium or plenary dedicated to oil palm. 

Whither oil palm?

Given the impact that oil palm has on the environment, whether perceived or true, not dedicating a plenary or several symposiums on the issue is ignoring the elephant in the room. 

(Though there was a handful of talks about elephants that discussed the animal’s use of oil palm landscapes.) 

With more than 1,300 regional and international participants, mostly conservation practitioners and some industry players, ICCB 2019 in Kuala Lumpur was arguably the best platform to discuss and debate the environmental aspects of oil palm. 

We could have had so much science and so many opinions from experts and practitioners. The exchange might be awkward, perhaps even uncomfortable, but I think that is part of the process needed to get us out of our echo chambers and cross the divide. 

Finding answers

We need solutions to the complex, thorny issue of oil palm, solutions which I doubt would emerge from a feel-good conversation. 

Whatever the solutions might be, we missed the chance to discuss them at ICCB 2019. It’s everyone’s loss, including the government and people of Malaysia and Indonesia, and all concerned conservationists.

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About ICCB

THE INTERNATIONAL Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) is a global forum for “addressing conservation challenges and for presenting new research in conservation science and practice”. 

Since 1988, it has been organised once every two years by the US-based Society for Conservation Biology. The society has nearly 3,500 members from 140 countries.

ICCB differs from many other conferences as it cuts across fields, from biology to management and technology.

At each congress, professionals and students present and discuss research and developments in conservation science and practice.

A plethora of avenues are offered for this including plenaries, symposia, moderated discussions, and poster and booth exhibits. There are also workshops, a careers night, and field trips.

As such, ICCBs are also important networking events.

The ICCB 2019 theme was ‘Conservation Beyond Boundaries: Connecting Biodiversity with Communities, Governments and Stakeholders’. Its daily themes were plastic solutions, empowering communities, diversity in science and saving wildlife and wild places.

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