Many have remarked that the global pandemic has been a Great Pause. By stopping the mad rush and the machines of capitalism, we have been given time to think about what is most important to us. If this pause is to become a Great Reset, then let us use this World Environment Day as a wake up call to make better choices in all that we do.
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.
This web forum brings together experts from a range of disciplines to assist us in understanding the Covid-19 pandemic from the perspective of public health and environmental management in Malaysia. Our aim is to uphold the most current and credible science on the origins and spread of the virus, dispel myths and fallacies, and engage in a constructive discussion of pro-active measures to avoid the spread of similar zoonotic diseases in the future.
“A Future for Primates in Malaysia” is a webforum on 28 July 2020 which aims to bring together concerned individuals, organizations, and agencies across many sectors to begin an important conversation on how to strengthen their conservation nationally. Panelists will outline some of the main threats and challenges faced while highlighting encouraging directions for positive action and collaboration.
The Shorebirds Project of Peninsular Malaysia led by Dr. Nur Munira successfully organised a World Wetlands Day celebration on 29 February 2020. This event is one of many steps she is taking to raise awareness among the local community about the importance of protecting the shorebirds’ habitat at the Teluk Ayer Tawar–Kuala Muda Coast.
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
The Shorebirds Project of Peninsular Malaysia led by Dr Nur Munira will use its Conservation Grant to continue monitoring and documenting the abundance and diversity of birds visiting the TAT-KM Coast. This data will communicate this to shorebird researchers worldwide. Using an integrated approach combining research, community engagement, and education and outreach to engage with key agencies and stakeholders in support of the protection of the remaining mangroves of the coastline and socialize the potential value of this area for nature tourism with benefits to local livelihoods.
This project invests in the mangrove restoration work being done by MNS Pahang in Chendor and Cherating, a popular destination for community-managed ecotourism. Besides its importance for local livelihoods, the area allows people to learn about the role of mangroves in coastal and fisheries resource protection, and as a nature-based solution to removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Song of the Gibbons is a collaboration between the School of Social Sciences and the School of Biological Sciences at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). It is part of an innovative three-year study using passive acoustic monitoring to better understand gibbon population ecology in and around Taman Negara National Park. The study enlists members of the Bateq hunter-gatherer community at the fringes of Taman Negara National Park as co-researchers. It is led by anthropologist Lye Tuck-Po, who has a longstanding relationship with this community.
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.
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.