THF Conservation Grant
Kota Damansara Community Forest (KDCF) Society was established in 2011 to serve as the official community counterpart to manage KDCF, 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 2016). The Society has also played a major role in building similar like-minded organisations. In late 2019, it was awarded a small grant from the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) to implement a 20-month project to address urban forest loss in Greater KL and build collective capacity for biodiversity conservation and community engagement among community-based organisations (CBOs) and government authorities in Selangor and the Federal Territory.
The GEF-SGP grant will be channelled towards activities 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.
The project comprises four components:
1. Creating impact at the planning stage and government level
Working with the municipal council, professional urban planners, and the forestry department to identify forested areas on state land, private land, and other reserves that can be conserved as urban greenspaces. Exploring opportunities to ensure their protection.
2. Capacity-building among organizations
The project will nurture a strong network of CBOs to consolidate collective experience to offer technical assistance and support to stakeholders and agencies seeking to emulate successful models for community-based conservation and engagement. This platform will hold public meetings to elevate the need for urban green spaces at a national level and elicit firm governmental commitments to and programmes that support biodiversity conservation in urban environments.
3. Specialized training and development of resources and publications
Sustainable forest trails: leveraging off the experience of Kota Damansara Community Forest and Bukit Kiara, the project will demonstrate the power of sustainable forest trails for engaging the public to appreciate and enjoy nature. The training will comprise a combination of theory sessions followed by practical experience from building a new trail.
Bringing biodiversity back: the project will work with academics and key organizations to develop resources for ‘biodiversity gardens’ which would focus on plants that are important to support local species of birds, bees and butterflies. A publication will be developed as a ‘how to’ guide for schools as well as residential areas and a few schools will be enlisted to demonstrate the programme.
Appreciating biodiversity: the project partners will organize several specialized-training activities to teach interested organizations on how to develop their skills as Nature Guide. Programmes would include macrophotography, herpetology, entomology, birding and forest flora among others.
4. Enlisting the next generation
The forest classroom: in order to cultivate connection to nature, programmes would be run to familiarize teachers and parents with how they can organize learning programmes in the community forests among our network.
Voluntarism and community service: organizations with experience in organizing volunteer activities will share their experience and networks in order to enlarge and streamline opportunities for school groups and students working towards service awards.
Enlisting tertiary students: working with academics from local universities, and in conjunction with the Forestry Department, we would seek to develop a programme of internship opportunities in conjunction with this project so students may gain experience within our CBO network.