(PART TWO OF ARTICLE ON ‘THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE CONSERVATION OF THE MANGROVE ECOSYSTEM’ CELEBRATED TODAY)
KUALA PERLIS – Efforts to regrow mangrove forests must be done consistently and continuously to ensure the restoration of the ecosystem is being done effectively.
This restoration is crucial, because the depletion of these forests not only impacts the environment but also affects the income of fishermen, such as the situation in Perlis here.
According to Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) president Prof Dr. Ahmad Ismail, the government’s efforts to plant mangrove trees in the Kuala Perlis coastal areas since 2005 was lauded, but only 20 to 30 per cent effective.
“These activities must be done consistently by replacing old mangrove trees with new ones and by adding new trees in other areas, and although the effort is still in the early stages, it will help in reducing erosion.
“This effort should also be intensified by planting more trees to increase benthic organisms such as snails, crabs and such, which will be the early marine life and a source of food for coastal and sea birds,” he said to Bernama recently.
As such, he said, support from the corporate sector, government and non-governmental agencies, as well as the locals, was much needed to make the restoration programme a success.
“Mangrove trees protect the coastal areas from erosion, increase marine biological diversity and encourage coastal fishing, tourism, educational and research activities,” he added.
Meanwhile, Perlis State Forestry Department director Awang Shaffie Awang Ahmadni said, work to conserve and restore mangrove forest started in 2005, and as of 2017, over 100,000 mangrove trees and other suitable species have been planted along the Perlis coastal areas, involving 31 hectares of land.
He said the state government was committed in this effort and on Oct 18 last year, 12.87 hectares of Pulau Ketam forest reserve here were gazetted as sea mangrove forest.
According to the Forestry Department, there are only about 600,000 hectares of mangrove forests left in the country, where about 25,000 hectares were destroyed in the period of 12 years. – BERNAMA