8 study areas proposed alongside Belait Wildlife Sanctuary
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
SEVERAL areas within the Labi Forest Reserve are also proposed as areas of study, said a research consultant of the Heart of Borneo (HoB) Research Programme in an interview with The Brunei Times.
This comes alongside the proposal for the establishment of the Belait Wildlife Sanctuary as part of the Sg Ingei Phase II ‘Faunal Biodiversity Survey in the Extension Zone', said Dr Ang Bee Biaw who is a research consultant funded by the Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd for the execution of the HoB research projects.
These areas are 1) Sungai Penipir, 2) Bang Mutik, 3) Bang Bangkau, 4) Melilas, 5) Sungai Keduan, 6) Lubok – Lubok, 7) Sungai Topi and 8) Bukit Keladan.
The three year Sg Ingei Phase II ‘Faunal Biodiversity Survey in the Extension Zone of the Proposed Belait Basin Wildlife sanctuary’ project was a major spin-off from the project’s first phase, conducted in 2010 to 2012. The second phase was launched in February last year.
She added that in all of the HoB projects, the research will try to answer several interventions stated in the HoB Project Implementation Framework (PIF).
“We are trying to develop all these (interventions), and develop research here in Brunei especially in the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources.
The HoB Project Implementation Framework interventions that need to be addressed include surveys of endangered cats, amphibians, insect Biodiversity, large mammal survey in the Inter-riverine Zone, survey of fish and aquatic invertebrates as well as rapid assessment of the Protected Area System.
The framework also outlined the need to enhance legal and management framework for biodiversity conservation, develop institutional capacity for biodiversity conservation, facilitate Birdwatcher Tourism and establish the Brunei HoB Biodiversity Field Course. One of the scientists working under the project, Dr Joseph K Charles said, “People have to realise that Brunei is tiny. The tinier a country is, the more difficult it is to maintain the resources. Therefore it is important to maintain resources. If Sg Ingei goes, there will no replacement. The same goes if we lose Temburong. If you lose a resource, you can’t get it back”.
Dr Ang said in the second phase, they are also very keen on capacity building.
Capacity building will continue to be one of the main focus under the Sg Ingei Phase II ‘Faunal Biodiversity Survey in the Extension Zone of the Proposed Belait Basin Wildlife sanctuary’, she said.
The research team now comprised two scientists (including Dr Ang) and four research assistants.
“We hope that they (research assistants) will train under us and any other invited scientists that we have and they can learn from this experience and perhaps pursue further studies for them to become a full fledge researcher,” she said.
“We are not only talking about our young scientists here, we are also training our guides and volunteers especially those in the local community. We trained them simple English, names of the species (of plants and animals) in English and also their scientific names if they wish to know. Hopefully by doing this it will encourage them to know more and be more involved,” she added.
The Brunei Times