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 A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>