THF Conservation Grant
The Habitat Foundation, together with the Tropical Rainforest Conservation Research Centre (TRCRC) and the Perak State Parks Corporation (PSPC), are piloting an innovative project engaging Jahai Orang Asli within Royal Belum State Park to establish native tree nurseries. Participating Jahai villagers from Kg. Sg, Klewang will collect the seeds of wild fruit trees, dipterocarps, and other target species from the forests adjacent to their village.
TRCRC to conduct ongoing training and mentoring for Jahai collectors from Kampung Sg. Klewang, who will lead the programme in their village. It will also go towards establishing the native tree nurseries, monitoring and caring for the seedlings as they germinate, and the initial purchase of saplings from the Jahai. The project will secure long-term sponsors to purchase saplings from the nurseries and plant them at sites identified as being important for restoring connectivity in the Central Forest Spine.
In the past year, PSPC has made strong strides in integrating indigenous people into the operations of the park. A successful pilot project in Kg. Sg. Klewang could lead to the expansion of the native tree nurseries to other villages within the park if there is interest. Importantly, it could also present a dynamic model for local community participation elsewhere in Malaysia where Orang Asli live in the vicinity of key protected areas and wildlife corridors. This initiative could well demonstrate a framework for greater involvement of traditional peoples associated with protected areas while providing a viable option for improving local livelihoods.
Recently, to take advantage of the masting event occurring every five to seven years in dipterocarp forest, TRCRC organized several sessions to collect endangered/rare/threatened (ERT) dipterocarp seeds. These were purchased from the Orang Asli participating in this programme and will be germinated in their dedicated nursery within the Amanjaya Forest Reserve.