22.7 C
Brunei
Monday, September 26, 2022
22.7 C
Brunei
Monday, September 26, 2022
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    Call to increase efforts in rainforest conservation

    James Kon

    Brunei Darussalam has a pristine rainforest protected by law and is considered to be Southeast Asia’s biodiversity hotspot due to its diverse ecosystem. Despite occupying less than one per cent of Borneo land area, it is ranked second among ASEAN member countries with high forest area.

    This was highlighted by Acting Senior Special duty officer of the Forestry Department at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) Joffre bin Haji Ali Ahmad during his presentation on ‘Brunei Darussalam’s Forest Biodiversity is Special’ at the Brunei Darussalam Conference on Forest: ‘Forests And Biodiversity: Unveiling Its Economic Potential’.

    Organised by the MPRT, through the Forestry Department and co-organiser Brunei Climate Change Secretariat (BCCS) in conjunction with the Brunei Mid-Year Conference and Exhibition (MYCE) 2021, it was held at Musyawarah Room, International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas yesterday.

    Joffre said, “Brunei is a small country with a total area of 5,765 square kilometres; in 72 per cent of its land area is still covered biologically diverse-rainforest. There are seven distinct forest types – mangrove, peat swamp, freshwater swamp, kerangas or heath, beach-type, mixed-dipterocarp, and montane.

    “There are rich biodiversity resources that remain safeguarded but not yet well documented. The country’s flora and fauna in record are estimated to be around 9,000 species of seed plants including 2,000 tree species, and 960 wildlife species of mammals, birds and reptiles.

    Acting Senior Special Duty Officer of the Forestry Department at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism Joffre bin Haji Ali Ahmad giving a presentation. PHOTO: JAMES KON

    “The 1996 checklist is still a good reference for the country’s biodiversity status, having 3,500 species recorded, 3,450 of which were seed plants, including 1,902 species of tree.”

    Joffree added, “It is the right time to identify the country’s economic potential and increase efforts in rainforest conservation. The country identified and studied a rare endemic plant in the past. Preserving the plant with horticulture technology shows a good possibility of commercialising tropical orchid and other plants.

    “Since 2013, Brunei’s Forestry Department and Singapore’s Botanic Gardens together with other centres and specialists, continue to work on botanical exploration and research to bring our knowledge of Brunei’s specular plant diversity forward.”

    Meanwhile, Associate Professor at the Institute for Biodiversity and Environmental Research (IBER), Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) Dr Rahayu Sukmaria binti Haji Sukri also delivered a presentation on ‘Biodiversity Research at Universiti Brunei Darussalam: Supporting Economic Diversification and Protection’ during which she touched on research carried out by the institute.

    Permanent Secretary at the MPRT Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abdul Wahab and Deputy Permanent Secretary at the MPRT Haji Mohd Yusree bin Haji Junaidi were also present.

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