The Habitat Penang Hill and the Habitat Foundation, in collaboration with the Penang State Government, Penang Hill Corporation, Penang State Forestry Department, and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) are closely involved in efforts to list Penang Hill as part of the Biosphere Reserve for Penang Island under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme. We are proud to be launching the Penang Hill BioBlitz 2017 which will take place from 16 – 26th October 2017. The BioBlitz is an unprecedented effort to enlist the expertise of both local and international researchers and naturalists to expand our knowledge of the biodiversity found within these forests. The biodiversity assessment will contribute scientific data that will strengthen the nomination of the forests of Penang island for UNESCO listing.
With the participation of world-renowned canopy scientists, we are excited about the prospect of new insights into the flora and fauna of the rainforest canopy! The Penang Hill BioBlitz 2017 will provide an assessment of the diversity of flora and fauna of the rainforest within the Habitat and the adjacent Bukit Kerajaan Forest Reserve which was originally established as a Virgin Jungle Reserve in 1911. Together with contiguous permanent forest reserves, water catchment reserves, and Penang National Park, these comprise an extensive forest complex of lowland and hill dipterocarp forest of approximately 8,000 hectares.
A scientific collaboration
The BioBlitz is being led by Prof. Dr. Siti Azizah Mohd Nor of the School of Biological Sciences at Universiti Sains Malaysia and Prof. Dr. Meg Lowman of the California Academy of Sciences (CAS). The tropical rainforest habitat such as that found on Penang Hill is home to a diversity of lifeforms, many of which are endemic to this region. Some are known to occur on Penang Hill and nowhere else in the world. The biodiversity of these forested hills is still little known and there is undoubtedly much more that awaits discovery!
Celebrating rainforest diversity
Aside from providing data for the UNESCO nomination, Penang Hill BioBlitz 2017 is a wonderful opportunity to showcase and celebrate the flora and fauna of the forests of Penang Hill while underlining the urgent need for rainforest conservation across the globe.