‘Research needed for ecological corridor project’

National 1 minute, 55 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

IN PREPARATION to establish an ecological corridor, the Heart of Borneo (HoB) countries – Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia – will identify each of the protected forests and assess the physical environment as well as the social and economic conditions of the people in the areas.

This was said by Arief Mahmud, head of Indonesia’s Betung Kerihun and Danau Sentarum National Park Office, at the recent 10th HoB Trilateral Meeting here last week.

The ecological corridor, which is a project proposed by Brunei under the HoB initiative a few years ago, aims to connect a number of protected forests in Borneo to protect biodiversity among the flora and fauna. The corridor project is also backed by two other HoB countries, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Among the protected forests include Betung Kerihun National Park in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, Batang Ai National Park and Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Santuary in Sarawak, Malaysia as well as Sungei Ingei in Brunei.

According to Arief, these areas used to be connected. However, he added, they were broken up by human interference due to clearing land for oil palm plantations or settlements.

“Under this corridor project we strive to restore the disconnected ecosystems. We realise that reconnecting the conservation areas is an uneasy task not only within the respective country but also between the three HoB countries,” he said.

Another programme that needs vto be done is to carry out familiarisation project to understand the communities that live in these areas and their needs in order to understand how to educate and raise awareness on endangered species.

“We need the support from the community to preserve our protected forests,” he said.

When asked about the source of funds to make the project possible, he said that HoB countries have received support from various foreign donors, including an international non-governmental organisation World Wildlife Fund (WWF). He said that the HoB countries need collaborative efforts with other institutions as the project cannot solely depend on each of the governments’ funds.

Established in 2007, the HoB Initiatives promotes sustainable management and protection of contiguous forests by connecting the national parks of the three countries on Borneo.

The HoB covers over 22 million hectares of tropical rainforest, or about 30 per cent of the islands of Borneo’s land area, across Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The Brunei Times