Friday, July 31, 2009

TEMENGGOR FOREST: Declare it a non-logging area

TEMENGGOR FOREST: Declare it a non-logging area

I REFER to two reports on the Temenggor forest -- "MNS: Make Temenggor off-limits to loggers" (NST, July 20) and "Perak ready to talk about forest status" (NST, July 23) -- and the ongoing debate on whether logging should be allowed in the forest.

As an ecologist who has been working in Temenggor since the 1990s, I would like to record my personal views, based on my experience working on the Temenggor Lake ecosystem and its watershed areas.

I support the Malaysian Nature Society's suggestion that the Perak government adopt the recommendation of the National Physical Policy that the Temenggor forest should be a non-logging area.

My team from Universiti Sains Malaysia can provide scientific evidence to strengthen their recommendations.

It is rather unfortunate that, unlike the Royal Belum State Park, the Temenggor Forest Reserve continues to be open to logging. It is also strange that a watershed area has been placed under Environmentally Sensitive Area Rank 11, meaning sustainable logging can be carried out.

I am a little sceptical as to whether we really understand the meaning of "sustainable".

Some of these rivers and streams in the Temenggor forest that were once believed to among the best sites for kelah (Tor tambroides) and temoleh (Probarbus jullieni) fishing have been heavily damaged.

The kelah and temoleh feeding and spawning sites are now gone.

The massive erosion from logging sites is gradually degrading these aquatic ecosystems.

The destruction is not only to the river systems but also affects the whole lake ecosystem.

I strongly feel that the Perak menteri besar is aware of this environmental catastrophe. I hope that Perak can work out a concrete management plan for the whole of the Temenggor ecosystem. This would turn Perak into a model state for environmental conservation.

School of Biological Sciences,
Universiti Sains Malaysia

(New Straits Times, 28 Julai 2009, Page 18, Letters to the editor)
Where is Temenggor Forest? Check here

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