A 5-year MoU signed on Peatland Management between Pahang State Government and Global Environment Centre (GEC)
The MoU enables collaboration between GEC and the state government especially on peat swamp forest rehabilitation and conservation projects in Pahang.
KUANTAN, PAHANG: A 5-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate action to conserve and rehabilitate peat swamp forest (PSF) in Pahang was signed on 23 February 2021 between the Pahang State Government, represented by the Pahang State Forestry Department and Global Environment Centre (GEC), an internationally recognised expert centre on peatland management. The MoU aims to enable a strategic multi-stakeholder partnership to protect, restore and sustainably manage peat swamp forest and its resources in Pahang State.
Effective between 2021 – 2025, the MoU covers conservation and rehabilitation activities in Southeast Pahang Peat Swamp Forest (SEPPSF) and other forest and peatland areas in Pahang. Under the MoU, the State Government and GEC, with support from multiple stakeholders, plan to implement key activities including: community-based fire prevention and forest rehabilitation; partnership with the plantation sector to prevent fires and safeguard peatlands near their plantations; and development of opportunities related to carbon finance, biodiversity conservation and community welfare. The partnership will also support the implementation of the Pahang Component of the national programme on Sustainable Management of Peatland Ecosystems in Malaysia (SMPEM).
Dato' Dr. Mohd Hizamri bin Mohd Yasin, Director of Pahang State Forestry Department said, “Management of peatlands requires different methods and strategies compared to other forest types. When degraded and drained, they are prone to fire and therefore, we need to implement effective measures to reduce fire risks in peatland landscape, especially in the dry season. Peatland protection and rehabilitation is also one of the effective options to off-set carbon emission and mitigate climate change. This contributes to the Government’s commitment to tackle the climate change issues.”
Faizal Parish, Director of GEC said in his speech, “The MoU will help facilitate collaboration between the State Government, private sector and local communities to protect peatlands and prevent fires. The collaboration will take a landscape approach to enhance sustainable peatland management and reduce fire risk. It will help establish partnerships with relevant stakeholders, including the local communities and the adjacent oil palm plantation owners to enhance management of peatlands.”
Mr. Parish continued, “GEC has been supporting governments in all 10 ASEAN Member States for more than 15 years to address peatland management challenges and has been able to reduce peatland fires at some states by more than 90%. In Pahang, GEC and the State Forestry Department have worked, since 2018, to prevent fires in a 1500ha fire prone landscape in the Pekan (Extension) Forest Reserve and its buffer zone in Pekan District by restoring natural water levels and empowering the local Orang Asli community and a nearby plantation to prevent fires. There have been no fires in this area for the last two years. Therefore, we wish to expand this approach to the rest of Pahang.”
This MoU will enable GEC to enhance community-based sustainable peatland management programmes, provide technical support to the Government of Pahang, particularly on integrated management of peat swamp forests and other peatlands, increase multi-stakeholder participation, support the State Government in the preparation of plans for sustainable management of peat swamp forests and raise awareness among the local communities, general public and the media on the importance of peatlands.