KUALA SELANGOR: Some 300 volunteers, among them corporate staff from HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad and school children, today planted more than 1,000 saplings at the Raja Musa Forest Reserve near here to commemorate World Wetlands Day 2012.
The tree-planting, under the Raja Musa Forest Reserve Rehabilitation Programme, was undertaken in collaboration with the Selangor government, State Forestry Department, HSBC Bank and Global Environment Centre (GEC) with the aim of conserving and maintaining forest reserves for recreation and research.
Selangor Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment Committee deputy chairman Lee Kim Sin said the reforestation project was part of the effort to restore the state's 23,000-hectare Raja Musa peat swamp forest as about 1,000 hectares have been degraded due to illegal encroachment.
"The areas which were affected due to illegal encroachment are in dire need of rehabilitation. A tree-planting programme such as this can restore the peat swamp forest," he said at a press conference after launching the World Wetlands Day 2012 at the Raja Musa Forest Reserve at Bestari Jaya, here.
The Raja Musa Forest Reserve, along with the Sg Karang Forest Reserve, is one the largest remaining contiguous areas of peat swamp forest in peninsular Malaysia. The peat swamp forest has been earmarked by the state government as an important conservation site which carries high potential for education and research activities.
At the same event, GEC, in partnership with HSBC Bank Malaysia, launched two programmes called “Friends of the Peatland Forest" or "Sahabat Hutan Gambut (SHB)” project and a school environmental education programme called “Peatland
Forest Ranger” as part of the Raja Musa Forest rehabilitation activity.
Both programmes will enhance participation of the local community in rehabilitation and management of the peatland forest and adjacent areas. Meanwhile, GEC director Faizal Parish said GEC has been working with the Selangor Forestry Department since 2008 to protect and rehabilitate the Raja Musa Forest Reserve.
"In the past three years, more than 4,000 volunteers have been involved in numerous tree-planting initiatives at this forest, planting about 40,000 trees covering an area of 80 hectares," he added. -- Bernama