Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

130 million years of Belum, let's keep it around longer

14.07.2008
WHILE the G8 continues to make more promises on how to save the world, a Malaysian is putting his money where his mouth is. Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal of the well-known EmKay group took the initiative to launch the Belum Rainforest Research Centre last week.

DZULKIFLI ABDUL RAZAK

Unveiled by the Sultan of Perak, the centre is poised to be a beacon for sustainability in seeking new solutions to old problems. And why not? Belum is one of the richest biodiversity areas in Malaysia. It lies in Perak, bordering Thailand.

Much of its 300,000 hectares of virgin rainforest have been left untouched for over 130 million years, awaiting to be discovered, befitting its name which translates into "the land before time".

In the Belum-Temengor Rainforest area alone, 3,000 species of flowering plants have been found, including the Rafflesia (bunga pakma), considered the world's largest flowering plant. Almost half of the eight local species of Rafflesia are endemic to this area. One was named Rafflesia azlanii after the sultan in 2003.

Worldwide, there are only 20 known species of Rafflesia, its flowers growing up to 100cm in diameter and weighing as heavy as 10kg.

Belum also houses 64 species of ferns, 62 species of mosses, 23 species of freshwater fishes and seven species of freshwater and land turtles that inhabit in and around the man-made lake, Tasik Temengor, which came about from the construction of the Temengor Dam.

Six species of palms and over 30 species of ginger, including new and wild ones such as Zingiber raja, have been newly discovered.

This is further enhanced by the presence of 14 of the world's reportedly most threatened mammals such as the Malaysia tiger and tapir, Sumatran rhinoceros, Asiatic elephant, gibbons and hornbills.

With the entire rainforest four times the size of Singapore, it is rather difficult to imagine what natural and biological treasures await to be discovered as God's gift to humans.

It is this generation's responsibility to ensure Belum remains sustainable for many generations to come.

The 2005 Belum expedition indicated the presence of hundreds of new mammals, birds, amphibians, insects and other fauna.

Herein lies the significance of the Belum Rainforest Research Centre, as not only a place to carry out research, but also to document and preserve what have been discovered.

This effort may take decades given the vastness of the place as well as the inaccessibility of the complex area. But we must begin today.

The threat of biopiracy is indeed very real and it will be rampant if there is no attempt to document and to preserve our natural heritage in this crooked world of "finder's keepers".

In fact, the need to gazette the entire area should be carried out as soon as possible, preferably together with the Temengor Forest Reserve so that both can co-exist as a single uninterrupted and pristine ecosystem.

More than this, it is also desirable to create a Transnational Park together with Thailand with a buffer zone, like that in the African continent, so that the wild animals can truly roam free.

But like the biopiracy of plants, poaching could be a problem unless security is seriously factored in the effort to preserve the park. The same goes for illegal logging.

Belum, which stands as one of the last remaining near-virgin rainforests in Peninsular Malaysia, must be protected at all cost, even if it means restricting access in terms of ecotourism. The analogy that comes to mind is that of a rare, invaluable and irreplaceable item of heritage on display.

At no time are such items being made accessible to just anyone, even in the name of tourism, except under very tight security and surveillance arrangements.

Why must our invaluable and irreplaceable natural heritage be so openly displayed as though they are of no value at all?

Some thought must be given to this if the troves of treasures in our forest are to be kept for future generations. That's what sustainable development truly advocates. More so if the intention is to go beyond tourism into the emerging knowledge-based economy.

Mohamad Abdullah | ResearchSEA
Further information:
http://www.usm.my
http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Sunday/Focus/2290666/Article/index_html
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

nachricht 100 % Organic Farming in Bhutan – a Realistic Target?
15.06.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Creating a new composite fuel for new-generation fast reactors

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Game-changing finding pushes 3D-printing to the molecular limit

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Could this material enable autonomous vehicles to come to market sooner?

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>