KUALA SELANGOR, Nov 7 (Bernama) -- Preventing peatland forest fires should be the key action in tackling the haze that is enveloping the region annually, due to open burning in clearing land for cultivation, said Director of Global Environment Centre (GEC), Faisal Parish.
He said this effort can be done by restoring the wetness of land and maintaining peat hydrology.
"This is important because in 2016, the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre has predicted that the El Nino drought will be worsening and forest fires are likely to increase.
"Therefore, we need all the support to help implement Integrated Management Plans for forests that not only cover rehabilitation and fire prevention but also enhance the engagement of local communities and stake holders," he said in his opening speech at a Tree Planting Programme here Saturday.
The programme organised by the Selangor State Government, GEC and Selangor State Forestry Department at the Raja Musa Forest Reserve here was held in conjunction with the United Nations Framework Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) COP21, scheduled to be held from Nov 30 to Dec 11 in Paris.
About 400 volunteers from 15 government agencies, local schools, representatives from various Asian and European Union (EU) embassies participated in the event by planting 366 Ramin Melawis (Gonystylus Bancanus) trees.
Also present were EU Ambassador and Head of Delegation to Malaysia, Luc Vandebon and Selangor Executive Councillor For Tourism, Environment, Green Technology and Consumer Affair, Elizabeth Wong.
Meanwhile, Vandebon said such programmes should be expanded nationwide as it could help restore forests.