HELP SAVE KUALA LANGAT NORTH FOREST RESERVE
About Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve (KLNFR)
Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve (KLNFR) is mainly peat swamp forest, with smaller areas of lowland dipterocarp forest. Peatlands are critical for preserving global biodiversity, provide safe drinking water, minimise flood risk and help address climate change (i.e. important carbon sink in climate change mitigation measures). It is an area of importance for biodiversity conservation that supports rare species such as Meranti Bakau, the Malayan Sun Bear, Selangor Pygmy Flying Squirrel and the rare Langat Red Fighting Fish. The forest is also of significant importance to local indigenous (locally known as Orang Asli) communities from Temuan tribe that have been their home for more than 150 years (with photographic evidence since 1886)
The unique hydrology of this habitat provides a critical buffer against flooding during the wet season and insurance against drought in the dry season. The swamp retains heavy rainfall and slowly releases the moisture over an extended period. It also helps supply water to the surrounding area. As climate change results in more extreme weather events and irregular precipitation this ecosystem service is becoming even more critical.
Most of the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve is situated on peatlands which have a naturally high water-table. Such peatlands are important stores of carbon because the organic matter of the forest has been accumulating for thousands of years. There are now several meters of below-ground organic matter underlying this forest reserve. Clearing and draining the forest would result in the oxidation of this organic matter and the release of carbon into the atmosphere.
Selangor State Government has proposed to degazette 930.93 ha (97%) of the forest reserve for a mixed development project. The Selangor State Forestry Department has, by way of a notice in the media on Feb 5, 2020, invited stakeholders in the Kuala Langat district to voice their objections to the proposal within 30 days.
DEGAZETTEMENT PROPOSAL OF KUALA LANGAT NORTH FOREST RESERVE
The Selangor State Government has proposed to degazette 930.93ha of the forest reserve for a mix development project. The Selangor State Forestry Department has, by way of a notice in the media on Feb 5, 2020, invited stakeholders in the Kuala Langat District to voice their objections to the proposal within 30 days. It has been stated that a major reason is that the forest reserve is continually burning to destroy 40% of the forest with smoke affecting the adjacent highway. Developing houses in the area has been proposed as a strategy to reduce fires.
Surrounded by rapid developments, the forest is under increasing pressure. Between 2011 - 2014, fires burnt a large area of the forest. However, at the request of the State Government, in 2014, rapid action was undertaken by the local Orang Asli community supported by the State Forest Department, NGOs and other partners to prevent fires and restore the forest. More than 10,000 trees have been planted, and 300ha of forest have recovered and only one significant has occurred in the past 5 years.
The 60% of the forest that the State confirms has not been affected by the fire has many large trees, some hundred years old. They represent some of the best remaining lowland forests in Southern Selangor. The forest is underlain with a layer of 2-4m of peat which stores more than 1.5million tonnes of carbon which has formed over the last 8.000 years old.
WHY DO WE NEED TO OBJECT TO THE PROPOSAL
KLFNR is an Environmental Sensitive Area (ESA/KSAS) - Level 1 under the Third National Physical Plan (RFN-3) and Disaster Risk KSAS under Development Goal Policy 16 (MP16) in the Selangor State Plan 2035 (RSN). Meaning any development in the area should not be allowed and will have detrimental environmental, economic and social impacts especially towards the Orang Asli communities that have lived in the area for hundreds of years as well as affecting the broader community and nation.
The proposed degazettement of KLNFR is not in line with the Selangor State Government's plan in the 2035 State Structure Plan to maintain 32% of the forest area in the State of Selangor. This proposed degazettement is also not in line with the Act 313, National Forestry Act 1984, National Action Plan for Peatlands (2011-2020), the National Policy on Biological Diversity (2016-2025) and the Third National Physical Plan (NPP-3), the Land Conservation Act 1960 (Act 385) related to conservation and protection of environmental resources and other obligations both in Malaysia and abroad.
WHAT IS AT STAKE?
- Degazettment of KLNFR would disregard the rights of the Orang Asli people who have lived for more than 134 years (since 1886). The State Government must be fair and equitable to protect the interests of the indigenous communities in the area;
- The clearing of forest area for development purposes will endanger ecological degradation, loss of wildlife habitat, flora and aquatic extinction;
- Increase the risk of fire in the KLNFR and surrounding peatland areas;
- Increase soil subsidence and flood risk in the area and the surrounding peatland areas;
- Increase the risk of floods in oil palm plantations managed by the Orang Asli;
- Ecological disturbance to the Langat and Klang rivers basins;
- Development of KLNFR (including tree felling, peat and drainage) leads to the release of 5.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), which contributes to local, and global warming and climate change problems; and
- Loss of research and education, recreation, eco-tourism sites and local socio-economic.
Peat Swamp Forest degradation is held responsible for large scale greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere. It is one of the main contributors to global climate change. If we don’t stop deforestation, and degazettement, the KLNFR will completely disappear soon. Therefore, there are many impacts including :
- The fight against global warming and climate change;
- Ecosystems and biodiversity protection: preserve critically endangered species or fauna and flora;
- Protection of natural resources including wetlands;
- People’s right to the healthy local living environment, resulting in sustainable production systems;
- Preservation of the cultural identity of the forests’ dependence populations.
- Payments for ecosystem services— Hope for avoiding the worst outcomes in the increasingly rely on the belief that people will be burdened and were shocked soon by the payment will request for the services provided by undisturbed and healthy forests ecosystems. These services—which include biodiversity maintenance, rainfall generation, carbon sequestration, and soil stabilization, among others—have traditionally been undervalued by markets, but there are signs that the situation is changing.
We, therefore call on the Selangor State Government to stop the proposed degazettement of the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve and instead protect it in perpetuity and manage it in partnership with the Orang Asli community. We need all the support from the public (including the youth groups, universities, climate change and environmental focused groups) in this effort to Save Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve by providing additional information on values of forest in payment for ecosystem, biodiversity (flora & fauna), carbon assessment, social values for OA and others. If you have any information, please e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE: The Selangor State Government has revoked the degazettement of the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve (KLNFR)
We thank the hundreds of thousands of people from Selangor and all over Malaysia who supported the campaign to protect the KLNFR over the past 18 months - through objection letters, petitions, and social media campaigning - as well as the many civil society organisations, research institutions, government agencies and private sector actors that have given their support towards this process.
At the same time, we urge the state government to promptly expedite the re-gazettement of KLNFR and enhance community management of the forest, as well as address the challenges facing the local Orang Asli community.
If we do not end deforestation or degazettement, it will jeopardise our efforts to reduce global warming and mitigate climate change. Please voice out your objection. Download and share it on your social media and talk to your family and friends about it. Share the updates world-wide and tag influencers. #kualalangat #kualalangatforestreserve #HSKLU #KLNFR #ClimateJustice
(GEC) Protests against Selangor State Government's proposal (NTV7, 23 February 2020)