Tag Archives: journalism

Racing to Save a Plantation of Rare Trees

The bulldozing of millions of rainforest trees in private plantation Penawar Hutan has raised the profile of the value of gene banks for conservation.

IN FEBRUARY, endangered tree species in a plantation in Perak, whose lease had expired, were destroyed by a state-linked company. Mounting public concern brought the matter to the Menteri Besar who quickly stopped the bulldozing. The fate of the trees remains in limbo.

The 200-acre tree plantation in Tanjung Malim is owned and operated by private entity Penawar Hutan Sdn Bhd. It housed up to 2.5 million trees of hundreds of species.

(Photo: Penawar Hutan’s Sheila Ramasamy (left) showing the Perak Menteri Besar’s press secretary Adie Suri Zulkefli a bulldozed section of the plantation, Feb 24, 2020. Credit: YH Law)

Continue reading Racing to Save a Plantation of Rare Trees

A Final Home for Lynas’ Waste?

Lynas Malaysia has located a site in Pahang to build a permanent disposal facility for its radioactive waste, with consent from the state. But what is a permanent disposal facility?

MORE THAN 7 years after they started operations in Malaysia, rare earths producer Lynas Corporation might finally be within grasp of a state-approved solution for its radioactive waste.

In a January 30 statement, Lynas says it has identified a site with consent from the Pahang state government to build what it calls a ‘permanent disposal facility’ (PDF).

(Photo: The Lynas Advanced Materials Plant near Kuantan, Malaysia, March 11, 2019. The facility extracts rare earth oxides from ores imported from Australia and generates radioactive residue in the process. Credit: LawYH)

Continue reading A Final Home for Lynas’ Waste?

ICCB: All Things Conservation

[UPDATED: 25 August 2019]

HOW TO talk to poachers. Why biodegradable plastic isn’t good enough. When a roadside patch can serve as a natural history classroom.

This was the recent International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) 2019 where Macaranga listened in, asked questions, and took notes. We tweeted and reported on some of the diverse and thought-provoking Malaysia-related topics presented there. (Check out our Twitter feed and follow us!)

Besides an analytical feature on the conference, our reports spotlighted conservationists and new research, showcasing how Malaysia fits into the global conservation landscape. We were also on BFM89.9 radio to discuss the event and its impact on local conservation.

Continue reading ICCB: All Things Conservation

A New Journalism Portal

[Updated 27 April 2020]

WELCOME to the Beta version of Macaranga, a new journalism portal covering the environment and sustainability in Malaysia. We aim to provide in-depth journalistic features on issues and build knowledge about ecosystems.

Our objective is to be relevant, insightful and accurate and to fill a gap in local content production.

Malaysian media coverage of the environment and sustainability has,
and continues to be overshadowed by a focus on economic development, in
line with national aspirations.

Global coverage is select and scattered.

This is despite Malaysia’s rich natural resources and growing economic costs of biodiversity loss and climate change.

Hence, Macaranga.

Research-based journalism

When we launched in 2019, Malaysia had a new government for the first
time in 60 years. In February this year, political realignments saw
another coalition government take over. The Covid-19 crisis began and
continues to cause uncertainty.

Through it all, there is an even greater need for deeply-researched,
engaging and accurately-reported stories about environmental issues —
stories which are significant nationally and beyond.

As such, the team is digging deep into our experience, networks within
and outside Malaysia, specialist knowledge and communication skills. We
are also collaborating with different groups and are aiming for more
collaborations.

We would like this digital, interactive platform to eventually become
a source of reliable and relevant information on Malaysia’s
environment.

Ultimately, we would like to inform, persuade, educate and connect
policy-makers, environmental groups, scientists, businesses, journalists
and the public to jointly pursue sustainable development.

The team

The portal is the brainchild of, and is run by Malaysia-based environmental and science writers, Law Yao Hua and SL Wong. Together, we have over 30 years of experience reporting, writing and producing content.

We have done work for local and international print, broadcast and online media, government and aid agencies, corporations and environmental organisations. We have also produced videos, podcasts, books, and run workshops.

Working with our content-producing and publishing network, we hope Macaranga will be an impactful digital multimedia platform.

We want to be as relevant as possible, so we welcome comments and feedback. Do also tell us what topics you feel we should cover here. And follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Huge thanks to Chong Su Weii (suu.work{at}gmail{dot}com) for helping us get this Beta website up.

(Photo: A botanist’s notebook – SL Wong)

WHAT IS MACARANGA?

Macaranga (Euphorbiaceae) is a family of tropical pioneer species that recolonises disturbed forest areas, paving the way for other species. It is found all over Malaysia — about 9% of the 300 known species call Malaysia home — as well as throughout Asia and beyond, as far as Africa.

Known locally as ‘mahang’, Macaranga has a symbiotic relationship with tree-living ants (Formicidae): the plant provides the ants food, the ants provide the plant protection from pests. Different parts of the plant are also widely used by humans in traditional medicine.

References:

Govaerts, R., et al (2019). World Checklist of Euphorbiaceae. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://wcsp.science.kew.org/ Retrieved 18 July 2019.

Nor Aishah Mazlan, Ahmed Mediani, Faridah Abas, et al., “Antioxidant, Antityrosinase, Anticholinesterase, and Nitric Oxide Inhibition Activities of Three Malaysian Macaranga Species,” The Scientific World Journal, vol. 2013, Article ID 312741, 8 pages, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/312741.