Belum-Temengor Conservation Initiative
26 Jul 2013
One of our signature campaigns and successes has been with the conservation of the Belum-Temengor (BT) Forest Complex. The uniqueness of this area prompted MNS to embark on two landmark expeditions between1993-1994 and in 1998.
Belum-Temengor Conservation Initiative
The conservation of the Belum-Temengor (BT) Forest Complex has long been of concern to MNS. Realising the unique values of the BT Forest Complex, MNS has had two landmark expeditions in this area The first expedition extended over a period of one year, from 1993-1994. A subsequent expedition was held in 1998. As a result of the first expedition, MNS, on a study funded by GTZ, produced the Management Guidelines for a Proposed Belum Nature Park in April 1995. An Executive Summary of this 400-page document is available for download below.
Located in the northern state of Perak, the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex, in the state of Perak also known as the BT Forest Complex is over 130 million years old, older than the Amazon and Congo basins, subsequently much more complex in biodiversity. The contiguous Belum-Temengor forest spans across a massive 300,000 hectares; approximately four times the size of Singapore. It forms the last remaining contiguous tract of forest in Peninsular Malaysia, which is outside the National protected area system.
The study highlighted the huge diversity of flora and fauna it supports, for which Malaysia is recognized as one of the 12 mega-biodiversity centres in the world. It presents the case to show the Belum and Temengor areas are more valuable under conservation management, rather than being converted to other uses, or developed solely for the extraction of their natural resources. Under conservation management some areas would be preserved in their natural state and others managed for sustained use. It also urged that under the current administrative status, it would be not be possible to coordinate development or achieve efficient land management in the area. The land needs to be managed as a single unit.
Unfortunately, this exceptional area is being threatened; logging being the foremost one. The Perak State government has expressed interest to continue extracting timber from the Temengor Forest Reserve. It says that timber exploitation is one of the main contributing revenues to the state. Perak is currently the second most forested state in Malaysia. More than 50% of the land in the state has been opened for development, with more earmarked for the future.
Malaysia’s life support systems are under severe stress. Free ecological services that has so far have been taken for granted are rapidly approaching the point where they will be overwhelmed, generating huge losses and costs for the nation to compensate. MNS urge the Perak State government to take into account the importance of future opportunities these forests possess in biotechnology, pharmacology and nature tourism, as well as preserving a landscape that is exceptional and has provided the basis for the peninsula's survival and prosperity thus far.
Its’ legal protection would prove to be Malaysia’s commitment to sustaining the biological diversity of its’ tropical forest, through managing not just our economic and social, but also environmental assets.
As a first step in our long-term conservation effort, we started a six-month Postcard Campaign, which started in April 2006 and came to a close in September 2006. Over 80,000 signatures were amassed through the Belum-Temengor Campaign. Signatures were obtained from all over the world and even included the signature of Minister of Natural Resources and Environment then, Dato Seri Azmi Khalid.
This mean feat would not have been possible without the assistance from both MNS members and the concerned public. For that, all of us at the secretariat are truly thankful towards all those who have provided thier support for this campaign.
However, the battle does not end here. A number of initiatives have been lined up for Belum-Temengor, particularly for the coming years. As the state government is still acquiescing to logging pressures, engaging the state government will be the first course of action for MNS. MNS also hopes to continue working closely with the Federal Government in exploring financial mechanisms for conservation.
On another note, research in the scientific area will also continue through hornbill studies and wildlife mapping, while involving the local indigenous community. General programmes for education and awareness will be carried out to continue the advocacy initiatives for the campaign. In order to make all this a reality, fundraising initiatives will continue, as the initial portion of the campaign relied heavily on the generosity of members and corporate organisations.
MNS BT Conservation Initiative Partners:
Belum-Temengor NGO Coalition
BT Celebrity Ambassadors (Amir Yusoff, Joanna Bessey, Lina Teoh, Shamser Sidhu)
Department of Wildlife & National Parks, Perak
Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund
European Union (European Commission to Malaysia)
Forestry Department, Peninsular Malaysia
Forestry Department, Perak
Novista Sdn Bhd
Ogilvy & Mather
Perak State government
Remembering Sheena Campaign
Sime Plantations Sdn Bhd
The BodyShop (West Malaysia)
The BodyShop Foundation
The Netherlands Embassy
TGV Cinemas Malaysia
And many many more indviduals and members.
For queries or contributions regarding the MNS Belum-Temengor Conservation Initiative, write to email@example.com