Villagers, students help save peat land

4 villages, 4 schools care for swamp forest

Volunteers

Volunteers at a world wetland day event at the Raja Muda Forest Reserve yesterday. Pic Nurul Syazana Rose Razman

KUALA SELANGOR: COMMUNITY engagement to revive and rehabilitate the almost destroyed peat land in the Raja Musa Forest Reserve was the main agenda of the Global Environment Centre (GEC) yesterday.

Two community-based initiatives, Friends of Peatland Forest (FPF) and Peat Land Forest Rangers (PFR), were introduced to involve the local community as part of the rehabilitation process.

GEC director Faizal Parish said educating  locals on the importance of preserving peat land forest and involving them in the rehabilitation process was more effective in the long run.

“Engaging the local community will create a sense of responsibility and commitment towards preserving and rehabilitating the forest.”

FPF is a community action group, comprising local residents concerned about the degradation of the peat swamp forest ecosystem and are proactive in conserving it.

PFR is an environmental education programme to educate students on the importance of environmental protection, particularly peat land forest.

“The pilot project involves groups from four villages around Kuala Selangor — Kampung Raja Musa, Kampung Bestari Jaya, Kampung Seri Tiram, and Kampung Sungai Sireh — under the FPF programme and SMK Raja Muda Musa, SMK Rantau Panjang, SMK Sultan Sulaiman Shah and SMT Kuala Selangor under the PFR programme.

“These initiatives come following a memorandum of understanding between GEC and the state Forestry Department signed in 2010.

“GEC is committed to providing continued technical support and facilitating community participation in forest conservation and rehabilitation as well as raising funds for these efforts,” said Faizal.

GEC, so far, has engaged more than 4,000 volunteers for numerous tree-planting activities, resulting in  about 40,000  seedlings planted on 80,000ha.

The peat-conservation efforts in this area are also supported by International Funds for Agricultural Development-Global Environment Facility,  European Union and corporate companies.

The Raja Muda Forest Reserve makes up the largest peat swamp forest complex in Selangor and is one  of the major remaining peat swamp areas in Malaysia.

Malaysia has the third largest surface area in the world made up of this type of forest.

Article Source http://www.nst.com.my/local/general/villagers-students-help-save-peat-land-1.49211

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