‘HoB’s REDD+ initiative will help boost eco-tourism’

National 2 minutes, 3 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

HEART of Borneo’s (HoB) Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) initiative will help support Brunei’s eco-tourism efforts, its Chief Executive Officer, Mahmud Hj Yusof, said recently.

The project, dubbed ‘Project Habitat (REDD+)’, is being carried out in collaboration with two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) — Brunei’s Biodiversity and Natural History Society (BruWILD) and Avelife, a Singapore-based environment NGO.

Project Habitat (REDD+) is expected to be launched this year, but no specific date has been set.

The project is in line with the country’s pursuit of forest conservation and is part of Project Habitat, which is a collaboration between BruWILD and the HoB Centre.

Project Habitat (REDD+) aims to protect existing trees and the growth of new trees in Brunei by allowing members of the local and international community to adopt a tree through a tree adoption programme. The site for the programme will be in Tutong District.

Project Habitat (REDD+) can boost Brunei’s eco-tourism efforts as tree adopters can travel to the Project Habitat site for an overnight stay or participate in package tours at selected zones under Project Habitat’s Kiudang Community Kampung in Tutong which conducts guided eco-tourism tours.

“Because of Brunei’s small size, (the country) can’t earn revenue based on logging because logging isn’t sustainable. Then how can we make money from our forest conservation policy?” said Mahmud.

The involvement of the two NGOs will help Brunei commercialise its conservation policy, he said.

“The tree adoption programme is the best way of making the forest sustainable while striving to support our (nation’s) economic growth (through eco-toursim). It’s high time that we promote eco-tourism through this project.

“This means we will highlight the importance of our forests and natural ecosystem for eco-tourism purposes because the global community is hungry for nature,” he said.

The public will be able to adopt trees by making a donation through a web portal.

Avelife’s head of special projects, Jonn Benedict Lu, recently said they are still working on the details for the donation, including the amount, the website as well as the platform for international transactions.

He added that they need to strike a ‘good price point’ where they can do what they say they will do and achieve those objectives as well as ensure that the programme is sustainable.

More information on Project Habitat (REDD+) and the tree adoption programme will be announced soon.

The Brunei Times