Thursday, December 23, 2010

Langat South Forest Reserve (Peatland), Banting/Tg. Sepat

YB Elizabeth Wong of Selangor rang the alarm bells of the possibility of the Langat South Forest Reserve, which has the last vestige of the peatland virgin jungle reserve (VJR) of about 270 hectares, is to be converted to oil palm plantations by Perbadanan Kemajuan Pertanian Selangor (PKPS). The VJR together with about 6,500 hectares of  mixed logged-over forest with the fringes already illegally converted to oil palm plantations as well as vegetable farms and tapioca patches. Remember, Banting is a "kerepek" capital of Selangor if not of Peninsular Malaysia.

The MB of Selangor gave the Selangor Forestry Department and Perhilitan (Wildlife and National Parks Department) to work together to do a rapid Ecological Assessment of the forest reserve to indicate whether it is worth keeping.
Langat South Forest Reserve with the illegally grown oil palms cut down and replanted with forest species

With En Yussainy of Selangor Forestry Department and a Meranti Tembaga sapling

Both departments requested for MNS to be in the picture and I think this is a very opportune time for a Nature and Environment-based NGO to work with two of the most relevant departments in Conservation. I gave sent an SOS SMS to the Director-General of the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), Dato' Dr. Latif to get some assistance in the form of specific researchers such Dr. Lim (Orang Asli and socio-economic issues). We are given two weeks to finish the study and the report. The dates 21 - 26 Dec are considered as fieldwork dates.

We have a short meeting during lunch time of the Kota Damansara Community Forest seminar on 20 Dec at the Club, Bandar Utama. In attendance were En Borhanudin, the Director of Selangor Forestry, Dr. Lim of FRIM (another representative from FRIM but her name slipped my mind), Lim Teck Wyn, Mrs. Pasu and Tan Sri Salleh.

On 21 Dec. 2010 (my birthday!), we (Mrs. Pasu, Teck Wyn and I) drove to Banting to meet up with En Yussainy, Renjer Kamaruddin< En Asri and other staff of the Selangor Forestry Department, who led us into two contrasting compartments - the first was a former oil palm plantation but with the palm trees already felled and replanted with 11 forests species (merbau, kapur, merawan siput jantan, merawan bunga, kelat paya, meranti tembaga, meranti sarang punai, ramin melawis, nyatoh taban merah, chengal, manggis, meranti seraya, kalumpang jari and karas (Aquilaria?)).Total costs of cutting of the oil palm and replanting are about RM 500, 000.

Later they brought us to Compartment 25, part of the VJR mentioned above.
Virgin Jungle Reserve (VJR) signage at Compartment 25
Outside of Compartment 25

Old Tapir tracks just outside Compartment 25

Wild boar hunters' hide at the boundary of Compartment 25

At the boundary of Compartment 25
A forester's marker for a flora species transect


About 50 meters from the outside boundary of Compartment 25

Mrs Pasu with Mr. Chan Yee Choong of FRIM

A 3.1 meter basal circumference of a tree confirmed by En Asri and Teck Wyn

A "kelubi" palm (where are the fruits?)

A confident Teck Wyn crossing a peaty drain :-)

Peaty water due to high concentration of humic acids

Take a look at the photos attached and give us your comments about converting the Langat South Forest Reserve into another oil palm plantation.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sg. Tengkil Waterfalls Hike, Saturday 13 Nov. 2010

Sg. Tengkil is located on the western side of Gunung Muntahak, which is part of the Gunung Panti Forest Reserve. It is approachable through the Petri Jaya, part of the Tradewinds Oil Palm Plantations. The hike to the waterfalls has become a popular weekend activity for a few of the climbing and hiking "kaki" of MNS Johor, namely En Hamid Abdul Rahman, Moses Wong, Zalinah & Rahman and Wee Soon Chit and family. On this trip we have 25 people - other than the ones named above, we have TK Lim and wife plus a group from the Breast Cancer Support Group, Johor Bahru.

Our day started early as we are supposed to meet around 745 am at the rest area on the Kota Tinggi-Bandar Tenggara-Kluang road. Such a good timing! As I saw TK Lim's double-cab turned right towards Kg. Semanggar just I was approaching the turn-off. We have some breakfast before going into Petri Jaya and met with the Assistant Manager of Tradewinds, DJ Zammani, who lead us to the road towards the Sg. Tengkil waterfalls. The veterans of the hike indicated that the route is a lot shorter that we would save between 1 - 1.5 hours of hiking.

Briefing by En Hamid

Approaching the sand mining area

The first Sg. Tengkil crossing


After a short briefing by En Hamid, we set out for the waterfalls, which is about a 3 hour hike away. On the way, we were greeted by a huge swath of land gouged out of the upper layer, probably sand. We would inquire with the Department of Minerals and Geoscience (JMG) about the status of the sand-mining activity in the area.

Sand mining area

Ponds left after the sand mining


After hiking on the open road to the sand-mining area, we have to transverse a part of the mining area and later we have to wet our hiking shoes crossing a stream, which we later learned is the downstream part of Sg. Tengkil. We even have to walk along the stream as the trail was non-existent in some area.

Walking in Sg. Tengkil

Wild boars' dinner table

Walking among the Johannesteijsmannia  altifrons


We later entered the forested area and mostly hiked besides Sg. Tengkil but we have to cross the stream from time to time as the terrain changed. The terrain after Waterfall 1 is relatively steep, probably about 60 percent gradient or more but after the first waterfall, the path is less steep and we reached Waterfall 3 around 1130 am.

Admiring a Johannesteijsmannia  altifrons palm

Soo Chit at Waterfall 1

Steep climb after Waterfall 1

Another Sg. Tengkil Crossing

Another one!


We stayed for about 2 hours, having lunch and also a refreshing shower. The hike back is not so bad although later we have to face a sudden showers, which later became a heavy downpour after we reached the rest area we had breakfast in the morning. After a late lunch of nasi goreng kampung and mee goreng, we departed for home.

Waterfall 3



Lunch time

Zalinah really enjoyed her showers!

Me too!

The girls having fun

Going down - have to be careful as the slope is steep

A mini waterfall

On the way home

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Festival of Wings (FoW), Kuala Selangor Nature Park (KSNP), 23 to 24 Oct 2010

I drove to KSNP with Harban from Johor Bahru on Friday, 22 Oct. 2010. Arrived around 6 pm. Shared a cabin with Harban for three nights. Shan offered a better accommodation provided by the Majlis Daerah Kuala Selangor but we preferred to be on site to know the facilities better.
Competing Buntings?

KSNP Cabins

Opening Ceremony


The event was officially opened by the District Officer of Kuala Selangor on 23 Oct and later closed by YB Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad, the Member of Parliament for Kuala Selangor on Sunday, 24 Oct. He requested for MNS to produce a poster similar to the one produced by MNS Johor for Panti Bird Sanctuary.
YB Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad, MP for Kuala Selangor closing the FoW


The major activities include a cruise along Sg. Buluh Jajaran?, mangrove tree planting, migratory bird watching at the Kapar Power Plant's ash pond and fireflies cruise at Kg. Kuantan.
Easy does it in the mud!

Mangrove Trees Planting

Migratory Bird Watching at the Kapar Power Plant


The mangrove tree planting was interesting with many, unfamiliar with mud, screaming as they wove their way into the planting zone.

The berembang trees (Sonneratia caseolaris), where the fireflies roosted were relatively small (around 3 m in height). The berembang trees during my youth in Sg. Kemasin, Bachok, Kelantan were relatively tall (6 m high).
Kg. Kuantan Fireflies Center's Logo

Kg. Kuantan's Fireflies Boat Cruise

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Panti Bird Sanctuary Launch, 9 August 2010

Setting up MNS' booth on 8 Aug 2010
MNS members with YB Dato' Abdul Ghani Othman, the Chief Minister of Johor


Maye, Wee Chin and a volunteer from MNS Selangor manning the MNS' booth

Visitors at MNS' booth



Finally, Panti Bird Sanctuary (PBS) was launched by the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Iskandar on Monday, 9 August 2010. The launch is part of the Kembara Mahkota, which started from Pontian and ended in Kota Tinggi. The sultan rode in riding his signature "tiger stripes" motorbike accompanied by the Tengku Mahkota (Tengku Ismail) and other motorcyclists. The Menteri Besar was also there but I am not sure he rode a bike or not.
Waiting for Tuanku's visit


About 40 MNS Johor members were present during the launch, which also included the launch of Vincent Chow's book with the Johor Forestry Department titled "On Feathered Wings".

Gunung Ledang, 21 February 2010

Gunung Ledang, 21 February 2010
On the Peak of Gunung Ledang after the MNSJ Strategic Planning

Malaysian Nature Society, Johor Branch

Hi!

I am the present Chairman of the Malaysian Nature Society, Johor Branch (MNSJ) (2010-11) and was duly elected as the President of the Malaysian Nature Society at the 63rd AGM at Taman Rimba Lagenda Ledang, Tangkak on 25th Sept. 2010. It is MNSJ's standing policy to engage directly with the relevant Federal and State agencies/departments on issues related to Nature and the Environment. This non-hostile approach is more effective than the hostile "in your face" attitude but we would have our say if necessary.

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About Me

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Skudai, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
I am an academician in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia situated in the southern state of Johor, Peninsular Malaysia. My fields of expertise are watershed management, water quality and water quality modeling. I did my B. Sc. and M. Sc. at the University of Iowa (1978 - 83) and worked for the Department of Environment (DOE) until 1990, when I joined UTM and later did my PhD in Watershed Science at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. I was the Chairman of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Johor from 2006 - 2011. I was the President of the MNS from 2010 to 2014.