About 100 volunteers comprising of local community, school students, non-governmental organisation and government officials were treated to a mangrove tree planting event with a difference over the weekend. The event was organised to raise awareness on the importance of mangrove forests and is part of an effort to restore and conserve 100ha degraded mangrove forest located in Lekir Forest Reserve, Sitiawan. A total of 1000 mangrove saplings (Rhizophora apiculata) were planted in the degraded area.
Spearheaded by Friends of Lekir Sitiawan Mangrove Forest in partnership with the Perak State Forestry Department and Global Environment Centre (GEC), the event is part of the Restoration and Conservation of Mangrove Programme which began in 2014. The event was also organised in conjunction with 61st Merdeka Day celebration, themed “Sayangi Malaysiaku” and funded by Vale Minerals Malaysia.
“Mangrove forests in Malaysia not only provide benefit to local community and support livelihood but also support a wide range of ecosystem services. Therefore, it is the civic duty of every citizen to play a part in conserving and protecting our priceless natural resources,” said A. Hadi Kamil Ismail, Chairman of Friends of Lekir Sitiawan Mangrove Forest.
Participants also learnt about the importance of the mangrove forest ecosystem to its surrounding areas and its link to issues such as climate change. The awareness is crucial to change, and events like these are an important avenue to educate the masses about biodiversity and sustainable development. The goal of the event is to raise awareness among the stakeholders and show them that they can contribute to mangrove protection and sustainability through simple actions in their daily lives.
“Many people are unaware of the key role mangrove forests play in supporting biodiversity and slowing down climate change. We hope that through this event, a fuller understanding of this ecosystem service and its value in both social and economic terms will assist the local community and stakeholders to protect and sustainably manage the forest,” said Yahya Bin Mad Nor, ADUN for Pasir Panjang, who officiated the event.
Hadi expressed his thanks to the funder and the stakeholders for their involvement and looked forward to continuous support from many parties to restore and conserve the mangrove forest.