Activities undertaken in the period of October – December 2023
This report covers activities implemented during the period of October – December 2023 under the YPPH-GEC Recovery Project. These activities include meetings with stakeholders, regular community-based patrolling and monitoring activities, biodiversity monitoring, aerial site observation on the project area, enhancing community livelihood, community nursery management, awareness campaigns, canal blocking structure maintenance, patroller refresher course and food aid distribution.

1. Meeting with Stakeholders
Numerous meetings have been conducted with stakeholders in Pekan concerning forest and land fire issues, and community livelihood matters, throughout the period from October to December 2023. On October 24, the project was visited by the Malaysian Palm Oil Green Conservation Foundation (MPOGCF) team. During the visit, the implementation progress on the rehabilitation project was shared by both YPPH and GEC. The discussion also included possible strategies to enhance green initiative focused on best management practices for existing agriculture on peatland at Ladang Pekan Barat (LPB). Subsequent to the discussion, the MPOGCF was taken to area adjacent to northern boundary of the YPPH estate to observe the canal blocks constructed for rewetting purpose. On November 28, GEC hosted a study visit at Kampung Meranti for stakeholders within the Southeast Pahang Peatland Landscape (SEPPL), particularly for the stakeholders involved in peatland fire prevention and community livelihood projects – including Pahang State Forestry Department (JPNP), Department of Environment (JAS), Enggang Holdings, teams of Sustainable Management of Peatland Ecosystems in Malaysia (SMPEM) and the European Union funded SUPA Project. During the study visit, GEC showcased the ongoing activities under this YPPH-GEC rehabilitation project, including: community tree nurseries, mushroom farm/house, Fire Danger Rating System (FDRS) signboard, fire prevention patrols and the experimental tree planting plot.

2. Community Fire Patrolling and Monitoring Activities
The community patrollers at Kampung Baharu Cenderawasih and Kampung Meranti have been regularly conducting site observation and monitoring. The patrollers from Kampung Meranti record the water level in the drains and the patrollers for both the villages update the fire risk indicator on the FDRS signboards to enhance local awareness. The FDRS information is disseminated through a community patrol WhatsApp group created by GEC, along with the 'Pekan-fire prevention' WhatsApp group that involves a broader range of stakeholders. GEC has also conducted site check and recorded damages of signboards and water level markers for maintenance action. Additionally, one river patrol along Sungai Bebar was conducted on 3 December with the community to check on any land clearing, as one of conservation and protection activities.

3. Biodiversity Monitoring
Biodiversity monitoring was conducted along the Sungai Bebar towards the YPPH area. The main purpose of the survey was to monitor and record any observation of wildlife along the Sungai Bebar area. During the survey, GEC recorded a total of 86 individuals from 20 species of wildlife, such as mammals, birds and reptiles, as per table below.

4. Aerial Site Observation
Several aerial monitoring activities were undertaken along the plantation boundary and buffer area, checking the maintenance of canal blocks, and monitoring the ex-burned spots nearby the YPPH estates. The site observation assisted the progress of maintaining canal blocks to identify erosion of the bund/canal block. Relevant materials and technical guidance were provided for repair of the canal blocks.

5. Enhancing Community Livelihood
This project has been continuously supporting engaged community members in diversifying livelihood options. GEC has sent an additional 400 oyster mushroom spawns to Kampung Meranti for new round of production. The objective of the mushroom farming is to encourage the local community to shift from traditional practices relying on limited forest and non-forest products, to another option for their livelihoods.

6. Community Tree Nursery Management
GEC constantly keeps an inventory record of the numbers and species of saplings in the community tree nursery at Kampung Meranti and Kampung Cenderawasih. The latest update from the community tree nurseries in Kampung Cenderawasih is 461 seedlings and 789 in Kampung Meranti, which shows a total of 1250 saplings that have been grown up to 2 feet tall and are ready to be planted to site. The tree species are from five (5) species, namely Alstonia sp., Calophyllum sp., Macaranga sp., Euodia sp. or Melicope sp. and Melaleuca sp.
Figure 7: Briefing session on tree nursery management and condition of the community tree nursery.

7. Maintenance of Canal Blocks
Multiple canal blocks within the recovery project area have undergone repair and reinforcement to help ensure that they can maintain water at the designated optimal level. Four specific canal blocks in proximity to the YPPH boundary within the project area have been diligently maintained, serving a crucial function in supplying an ample water source for extinguishing fires and smouldering areas during the dry season. In view that the wet season is approaching, the maintenance activity encompassed of strengthening the bank structure to prevent erosion of the blocks. The maintenance work was successfully completed by October 31, with substantial financial support from Enggang Holdings.

8. Community Patroller Refresher Course
GEC organised a Community Patroller Refresher Course on October 20 at GEC Pekan office, that was attended by six community patrollers from Kampung Meranti, Kampung Simpai, and Kampung Tanjung Kelapa. This training provided information, explanations, and shared relevant information on monitoring technique and Health and Safety during patrolling activity. The participants were taken to visit the Sultan Abu Bakar Museum in town as part of the team building session.

9.Food Aid Distribution
On November 13, GEC distributed a total of 33 food baskets to the communities in Kampung Meranti. The food baskets were distributed to the villagers who are in need as a preparation for the monsoon season because the village’s road access may be cut off for weeks. Tunas Maju Supermarket played a pivotal role as the essential item supplier and assistance to arrange for packing. The items in the food baskets include rice, dried noodles, canned food, biscuits, tea, cooking oil and condensed milk. There were additional menstrual pads and formula milk powder were provided to the needy families. The success of this effort not only achieved its objectives in providing tangible assistance but also communicated a powerful message of solidarity and support, fostering a sense of unity within Kampung Meranti and neighbouring communities. The collaborative success underscores the dedication of all involved parties to community welfare and empowerment.