Tag Archives: sprouts

Heath soil is far from basic

Interviewed: Giacomo Sellan, plant scientist (giacomo.sellan@ecofog.gf)

(Photo: Heath forest in Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, Sabah | Pic by Giacomo Sellan)

The Ibans call heath forests “Kerangas”, which means “lands that will not grow rice”. And it is not just rice that could not make it there. 

As one treks from the lush lowland forests into heath forests, the trees change. Tall, thick trees give way to stunted ones with gnarled branches and “gracious” leaves, looking similar to bonsai trees, says plant scientist Giacomo Sellan.

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An End To the Culture of Eating Turtle Eggs

Eating turtle eggs in Terengganu is often attributed to culture. But fears it could jeopardise the trade ban on June 1 might be unfounded.

MANN THE turtle sanctuary ranger suddenly raises his finger and points at the ocean blue. “There are turtles mating,” he says. I follow his line of sight to two turtles in a tight embrace and bobbing on the surface of the water.

My heart leaps and I hope for the best. Maybe the female will survive to lay her eggs here at the sanctuary. Maybe those eggs will hatch, like many have before. After all, this is the Chagar Hutang Turtle Sanctuary on Redang Island, Terengganu’s most productive sea turtle nesting grounds.

(The ban on the sale of turtle eggs in Terengganu targets traders. | Photo: Bryan Yong)

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City Farms Growing Resilience

Leadership, training and support help overcome challenges in community farming in Kuala Lumpur’s public housing, sowing success.

WITH FOOD prices ever increasing, community farming for food security among lower income city-dwellers is ever more critical. The pandemic saw the media trumpeting the importance of such programmes.

However, as long as 5 years ago in 2017, the local government in Kuala Lumpur started encouraging the residents of both the Public Housing (PA) and the People’s Housing Programme (PPR) to be involved in community farming. And the programme has sowed some success.

(Photo: Successful community farming projects yield healthy home-grown vegetables that feed all the farmers and their families  | Image by Tan Kai Ren)

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Locals Feeling Loss of Wild Pigs

African Swine Fever in Sabah has devastated wild pig numbers since February last year. Has this hurt the Kadazandusun-Murut communities, whose livelihood and culture are tied to this wildlife? Part 2 of a series on the impacts of the disease.

LEAN HUNTING dogs eagerly patrol the dirt roads, viewing strangers with caution. Stands of oil palm, rubber and food trees surround houses with zinc roofs. A large cross marks St Bede’s Catholic church.

This is Kampung Pangas Ulu, a village in Keningau, Sabah.

Like all rural indigenous Kadazandusun-Murut (KDM) villages, this kampung was once surrounded by forests. And one forest animal, babi hutan, the Bornean bearded pig (Sus barbatus), was integral to their culture and identity.

(Photo: All dressed up and no pigs to hunt: Ahmed bin Pintin (right) with his buddy and hunting dogs  | Pic by Alven Chang)

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Where Are All The Sabah Pigs?

African Swine Fever has devastated wild pig populations in Sabah. To understand its impact on the animals, the forest, and people, data is needed. But counting pigs is tricky. This is Part 1 of a two-parter on the impact of the disease.

IT IS December 2020 and in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Sabah, a dead Bornean bearded pig (Sus barbatus) lies on the ground. It was the first of 14 that would be found in the following weeks.

“We knew something was very wrong when more pig carcasses started to pop up,” says Dr Benoit Goossens, director of the Danau Girang Field Center, which is located there.

(Photo: Since ASF, camera trap photos of wild pigs like this one from 2013 are rare | Pic by Danau Girang Field Centre)

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Lessons Learned from #HutanPergiMana

An examination of how environmental NGOs banded together and drove public discourse to save the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve from development.

THE MALAYSIAN public almost always has no say over one thing that covers one-third of their country – forest reserves. Going against that norm is the fate of the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve (KLNFR) in Selangor. 

Last August, the Selangor state government degazetted 536.7 hectares of the KLNFR. But unrelenting public outcry and political pressure pushed the government to announce it would gazette the reserve again. Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari has since said that the gazettement will be completed within the first three months of 2022.

(Photo: Shaq Koyok (left) and other members of the PHSKLU coalition protesting the degazettement of the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve | Pic by Shaq Koyok)

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The True Value of Limestone

Quarrying limestone is worth billions but how does that compare to the ecological, touristic, cultural and historical values of this ecosystem?

DRIVING on the North-South Highway to Batu Gajah, Perak from Kuala Lumpur brings back many childhood memories of my balik kampung ritual.

We would pass limestone hills topped by dipterocarp trees fighting for space at canopy level while the sun created shadows in the hills’ crevices.

These views always made me ask my mother, “Do you think dragons live in these hills and caves?”

(Photo: Perak’s limestone hills are valuable as a source of raw materials for construction but is that all they should be valued for? | Gunung Kanthan pic by Sakyamuni Caves Monastery) 

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What It Takes to Manage Landslides

Floods might hog the current natural disaster news in Malaysia, but landslides are occurring too. Does Malaysia have what it takes to handle landslides?

CARRYING her one-month-old baby, Pricila Gracelyn rushed out from her hillside house in Penampang, Sabah in terror and pain as a big falling tree and cascading mud almost split her home into two.

“I was just about to lay my baby down on the bed when I suddenly heard a loud sound coming from above us. I thought it was thunder,” remembers Gracelyn.

“Maybe it’s my instincts, I carried my baby and escaped from the room, and in a blink [of an eye], our house was destroyed by the landslide.”

(Composite photo: Soil and trees destroyed Gracelyn’s house in Penampang, Sabah in September | Pics by Pricila Gracelyn)

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Cement Matters in Climate Crisis

It is in virtually everything that is constructed but cement has a climate impact that needs addressing. 

CEMENT is a key material in construction. According to the UN, the cement industry is the fourth largest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitter by fuel type after coal, oil and gas.

And Asia dominates as the emitter of industrial greenhouse gasses emissions from cement, iron and steel, reports the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2014).

But compared to fossil fuels, cement is not as widely known for its contribution to the climate crisis.

(Photo: From buildings to pavements, cement is everywhere around us. | Photo by SL Wong)

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Reconsider ban on turtle egg sale, say Terengganu traders

To conserve turtles, the Terengganu state legislative assembly passed an amendment to ban sales of all turtle eggs by June 2022. But in the face of strong traditional demand for the eggs, will the ban work?

THE SLEEPY market of Pasar Payang in Terengganu springs to life on Saturday mornings. Customers weave through the tight maze of stalls, some looking for a delicacy rarely found elsewhere – turtle eggs.

One vendor, who only gives her name as Mak Kiah, picks up 10 eggs from a bag of 100 and drops them into a transparent plastic bag. The eggs are covered in sand and cold to the touch.

Sembilan puluh ringgit”, she says to a customer. Ninety ringgit.

(Photo: On a busy weekend, hundreds of turtle eggs are sold at the Pasar Payang market, Kuala Terengganu | Pic by Bryan Yong)

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