The Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve (KLNFR) is a 960-hectare peatland forest. In 2017, about 95 hectares of the peat swamp forest was razed by fires due to its combustible nature as well as the hot and dry spell that commonly hits Malaysia. Peatland fires lead to the loss of forest resources, biodiversity and generate Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and smoke which affect the health of local communities in addition to economic losses.
To conserve and rehabilitate this delicate ecosystem, 200 volunteers including 40 school children from SK (Asli) Busut Baru and SK (Asli) Bukit Cheeding, local communities, NGOs and corporate representatives, joined hands to save the KLNFR peat swamp forest. Together, they planted 600 trees of Tenggek Burung (Melicope lunu-ankenda), a pioneer species, on a 1-hectare plot of Forest Compartment 6, KLNFR. The volunteers also learnt about the importance of the KLNFR ecosystem to its surrounding areas and its link to issues such as climate change.
The tree planting initiative is part of the ongoing Peatland Water Management and Forest Rehabilitation in Kuala Langat North Peat Swamp Forest Landscape, which focuses on peat hydrology management, fire prevention and control, local indigenous and community participation and private sector partnership to support the implementation of the Forest Fire Management Plan for Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve and Kuala Langat South Forest Reserve 2017-2021.
Highlights at the event also included the launch of the Sahabat Hutan Gambut Kuala Langat Utara (SHGKLU) (Friends of Kuala Langat North Peat Swamp Forest), a ‘peat guardian team’ formed among the local indigenous people from two villages, namely, Kampung Bukit Cheeding and Kampung Pulau Kempas. They will work together to address the issues and assist on the conservation and protection of KLNFR and surrounding landscape.