|What is Sahabat Hutan Bakau?
Sahabat Hutan Bakau (SHB) or Friends of Mangrove was introduced in recognition of the need for the involvement of the local communities in the mangrove rehabilitation programme. The establishment of the SHB was equally spurred by the awareness and concern of the local communities on the degradation of the mangroves and its ecosystem. The alarming changes has increasingly altered the lifestyle of the local communities who have in the past been highly dependent on the mangroves for their livelihood, including fishing and gathering of produces from the mangroves for economic purposes. The continuous threat on the mangroves and its ecosystem has indeed caused adverse impacts on the local communities who have been dependent of these natural sources for quite sometime. It is against this backdrop that an initiative was formed and recommended by Y. Bhg Tan Sri Razali Ismail, a member of the Board of Directors, Global Environment Centre to establish the SHB. Who is SHB? The SHB consists of members of the local communities who are responsible for the rehabilitation, protection and management of the mangrove on behalf of the State Government. In their partnership, the SHB shall act as the monitoring group as well as the machinery for public awareness activities. GEC on the other hand, with its expertise, shall prepare scheduled training programmes aimed to improve the skills and knowledge of the local communities. This is also a mechanism to inculcate in them the importance of protection and conservation of the aesthetic value of the mangroves. In addition, the SHB shall be the main platform for promoting the Mangrove Rehabilitation Programme and the sharing of information on the issues at national level.
Where did SHB start?
The establishment initiative of the SHB has received tremendous support from the local communities of Kuala Gula, Perak, where the mangrove rehabilitation programmes are being spearheaded by the GEC. The SHB (Friends of mangrove) Kuala Gula pilot programme is a community-based mangrove conservation programme which begin in 2007.
What is SHB's role?
Amongst the activities currently undertaken by the SHB are:
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- Gathering of mangrove seedlings
- Establishment of seedlings bank
- Mangrove replanting through community cooperation “gotong royong”
- Supervision and monitoring of the mangroves planting areas
- Undertaking of life-skills training in collaboration with the relevant government agencies
- Organising study tours with the local communities
- Environmental education and awareness programmes
- Management of eco-tourism activities