Environmental champions can be found everywhere: some live in remote forests, and others may live right next door! For the past few months the team from The Habitat Foundation has been working closely with Greensmiths in developing educational modules tailored for students in Malaysia aged 10-15. The upcoming Habitat Academy Environmental Literacy Course is designed […]
The Habitat Penang Hill is a world class rainforest discovery centre located at the edge of the magnificent rainforest located within easy access of the vibrant metropolis of Penang. With its nature trail, iconic treetop walkway, and canopy bridge that provide exceptional rainforest experiences, The Habitat aspires to awaken curiosity and nurture support for conservation among the thousands of visitors it receives each year. Funds generated by The Habitat Penang Hill’s commercial operations go into The Habitat Foundation to support innovative solutions to conserving biodiversity and protecting nature both in Penang and beyond.
The Habitat Foundation is a charitable trust based in Penang, Malaysia and the non-profit sister organization of The Habitat Penang Hill. The two organizations complement each other in the overall mission to connect people to this ancient rainforest, promote biodiversity conservation, and support impactful solutions through the programmatic work of the Foundation. The Habitat Foundation is committed to supporting the conservation of biodiversity and safeguarding the living environment upon which we all depend.
The Foundation works closely with communities, scientists, academic institutions, NGOs, government agencies, protected area managers, and businesses. Our aim is to protect the irreplaceable natural heritage of this region and shift our society towards sustainability.
The Habitat Foundation and The Habitat Penang Hill are supporting the Malaysian Government’s bid to nominate the forests of Penang Hill and adjacent protected areas as a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve. In addition to providing recognition for its outstanding biodiversity values and diverse social landscape, a UNESCO listing would provide a foundation for our ongoing quest to seek balance in the interactions between society and the environment.
URBAN BIODIVERSITY INITIATIVE
The Habitat Foundation is honoured to support a new national initiative to develop an IUCN Action Plan for the Conservation of Small Apes in Malaysia being coordinated by the Malaysian Primatalogical Society (MPS). Over the coming months, key individuals, organizations, institutions and agencies from across Malaysia will be participating in thematic discussions to help provide an assessment of the conservation status of Malaysia’s gibbon species. They will assess the main threats and challenges and collaboratively develop a strategic Action Plan to ensure their conservation in the wild.
The Habitat Foundation with the Society for Conservation Biology Malaysia Chapter did a livestream of its second two-part webforum on ecotourism on 27 August 2020. Planning for a Resilient Responsible Tourism Sector expanded on the first session by taking a closer look at the research and consultation that goes into effective ecotourism planning. This session looked into the effective planning needed to showcase the unique natural and cultural values of potential tourism clusters in ways that uphold responsible tourism standards while providing avenues for supportive synergies among local communities, businesses and enterprises.
Malaysia is immensely fortunate that it has been spared to worst ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic and our reward is that it is now possible for us to move within our borders. The weeks of being cooped up at home have made many restless and craving wide open spaces, the open road, and sandy shores. What if we saw this impulse to wander as an opportunity to discover our own country while consciously supporting ecotourism businesses to weather the storm?
THE HABITAT EXPERT SERIES
The potential for ecotourism to make a positive and sustainable contribution to conservation in Malaysia has always been undeniable. However, the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic has severely challenged both sectors. The Habitat Foundation, in keeping with our Conservation and Sustainability pillars, has teamed up with Society of Conservation … (read on) about Strengthening the Links between Ecotourism and Conservation in Malaysia
The Habitat BiodiverCity series has been created to support our efforts to champion urban biodiversity. Through our programmes and education activities we aim to nurture greater awareness of urban biodiversity and the importance of nature-friendly spaces in cities if we want to sustain natural systems and have birdsong in our lives.
Lighter Footprint is a new video series created by The Habitat Foundation to inspire people to make baby steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle. We will be sharing simple initiatives and changes that are good for your health, wallet, and the planet. Look out for all our Lighter Footprint videos with simple tips on how we can consume more consciously and care for our planet.
2019/2020 CONSERVATION GRANT RECIPIENTS
Urban Biodiversity Initiative (UBI) is an independent collective for urban ecology research, conservation and environmental education. Based at the Rimba Ilmu Botanic Garden at Universiti Malaya, they have received a THF Conservation Grant to implement a project promoting the rewilding of urban landscapes through education and community engagement. This project will lay a foundation for integrating biodiversity gardening into the wider urban greening agenda, engaging multiple stakeholders and develop resources for communities, as well as local institutions and government authorities.
Building on Think City’s Green Corridor initiative to encourage schools to use their fields for urban biodiversity gardens, this project will support six schools in composting, strengthening green corridors, and growing herbs and vegetables. Led by GreenSmiths, it will enlist other local organizations to help mentor the schoolchildren in establishing and maintaining edible and biodiverse gardens.
Kota Damansara Community Forest Society (KDCFS) was established in 2011 to serve as the official community counterpart to the forest reserve which was gazetted for protection in 2010. Today, it is regarded as a model community-managed urban forest and a demonstration of public participation (National Policy on Biodiversity). The Society has received a grant from the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) to implement a 20-month project to establish a common platform to protect remaining green areas in the Klang Valley and create a more hospitable landscape for biodiversity in the sprawling urban metropolis. The Habitat Foundation is strengthening this initiative by providing co-funding to boost capacity for project coordination, networking and successful project delivery.
In Royal Belum State Park, The Habitat Foundation is partnering the Perak State Parks Corporation (PSPC) and Tropical Rainforest Conservation and Research Centre (TRCRC) to pilot an innovative programme to engage Jahai Orang Asli within the park to establish native tree nurseries from the seeds of wild fruit trees, dipterocarps, and other target species. Saplings from the nursery they will be purchased to be planted at sites important to restore connectivity to the Central Forest Spine.
2019/2020 RESEARCH GRANT RECIPIENTS
Macaca Nemestrina Project is a long-term behavioural and ecological study of Southern pig-tailed macaques which has been conducted near the Segari Melintang Forest Reserve (SMFR), Perak. Researchers supervised by Dr Nadine Ruppert of the School of Biological Sciences at Universiti Sains Malaysia are presently engaged in a 3-year research project entitled “Enhancing oil palm sustainability through primate conservation and stakeholder engagement”. The aim of the project is to improve sustainable practices in Malaysian oil palm plantations by protecting the forest habitat of plantations through forest corridors and stakeholder engagement.
During the Penang Hill BioBlitz in October 2017, many rare and relatively unknown cyanobacteria species were detected among the algae samples collected. To understand their contribution to ecosystem functioning, and potential role in biotechnological developments, further study is necessary. This research, led by Dr Faradina Merican of the School of Biological Sciences at USM will compare the diversity of cyanobacteria at the study site with existing records from comparable environments. It is expected to draw attention to rare, endemic and little understood taxa whose presence, abundance and biological conditions may be used to make inferences about the quality of the environment.
A research team from the School of Biological Sciences at USM, led by Dr Rosnida Tajuddin, received a THF Penang Hill Research Grant to document the historical uses and sociological value of local wild edible and medicinal fungi. They will also analyse the mycotoxin potentially present in wild fungi growing in association with the roots of dipterocarp trees, to help determine whether it is safe for human consumption. This study will enhance our understanding of the conservation status of mushrooms in Malaysia and the significance of the biological relationships of fungi within the surrounding forest.
Wong Pui May is a community liaison manager affiliated with RIMBA. She has been working for the past year to facilitate community development initiatives at a Bateq village at the border of Taman Negara National Park. She was selected to receive a THF Travel Grant to participate in the Asian Regional Course on Promoting People-Centred Approaches to Conservation of Nature and Culture (PNC2019) in Dambulla, Sri Lanka. This is her report from the conference.
Ng Wai Pak is a senior conservation officer at Malaysian Nature Society (MNS). He works primarily on wetland and migratory bird conservation. He received a THF Travel Grant to attend the International Conference on Wetlands and Migratory Waterbirds of the Asian Flyways (CWAMWAF) in Lonavla, India in November 2019. This is his report from the conference.