UPDATE NO. 3/2023

Activities Carried out in The Period of July-September 2023
This report covers activities implemented during the period July–September 2023 under the YPPH-GEC Recovery Project. These activities including meetings with stakeholders, regular community-based patrolling and monitoring, biodiversity monitoring, aerial site observation on project area, enhancing community livelihood, community nursery management, awareness campaigns, canal blocking structure maintenance, and management of GEC Pekan Office.  

Meeting with Stakeholders

Various meetings were conducted with stakeholders in Pekan in relation to forest and land fire issues and community livelihood matter throughout the period of July-September 2023. These meetings include discussions with local agencies such as SMPEM Project Office, Department of Environment (DOE) Pahang, Department of Agriculture (DOA) Pekan, Fire and Rescue Department (BOMBA), Enggang Holdings, Ladang YPPH Pekan Timur (LPT) and Ladang YPPH Pekan Barat (LPB). Issues that were discussed included: preparation for awareness events with local villages, challenges of pineapple farm operations at Kampung Baharu Cenderawasih, follow up with the fire incident issues and repeated smouldering incidents from previous fire spots. In addition, GEC also had a meeting with Amanah Saham Pahang Berhad (ASPA) regarding the multi-stakeholder effort in preventing fire along the buffer zone of Pekan Forest Reserve and nearby oil palm plantations.

Figure 1: Various meetings with stakeholders within the landscape

YPPH was invited by the Headquarters of the Department of Environment to share experience in fire prevention and management at “Programme on Prevention and Monitoring of Peatland Fire in Mitigating Haze in Malaysia” held on 27 September 2023, in Klang, Selangor. GEC has provided appropriate technical support to prepare presentation material titled “Peatland Management: Root Causes, Strategy, Fire Prevention and Control”.

2.      Community Fire Patrolling and Monitoring Activities

Two teams of community patrollers have been undertaking regular site observation and monitoring at Kampung Baharu Cenderawasih and Kampung Meranti, to record in-drain water level and change the fire risk indicator on the Fire Danger Rating System (FDRS) signboards for local awareness. The FDRS information was disseminated through community patrolling Whatsapp group created by GEC, alongside with the “Pekan-fire prevention” Whatsapp group with a broader stakeholder. One incident was reported by the local community patroller who noticed two (2) excavators were placed in the project area, nearby boundary of the YPPH LPT boundary, to be believed for log extraction. The incident was then reported to YPPH and Enggang Holdings as the new land manager. GEC was informed that the issue has been conveyed to State Forestry Department for actions, and the excavators’ contractor was given an order to stop operations.

Figure 2: Communication with patrollers via WhatsApp Group and notification of two excavators were transported and left at the project site

3.      Biodiversity Monitoring

A camera trap was installed at Pulau Kancil nearby Kampung Meranti to monitor movement or presence of wildlife. The chosen location was selected as per assumption there are wildlife trails within the area. It was recorded by observation the footprints of Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus) nearby the area which justified the installation. In addition, there was sighting of wildlife during community river patrolling activity.

Results from the camera trap installation and the community river patrolling as per table below.

Figure 3: Selected footages of wildlife diversity captured by cameras

4.      Aerial Site Observation

Several aerial monitoring undertaken along the plantation boundary and buffer area, checked the maintenance of canal blocks, and flew over the smouldering spots within the previous fire incident areas nearby YPPH estates including the LPT and Ladang Sungai Bebar Selatan (LSBS). The site observation assisted the progress of maintaining canal blocks to identify erosion of the bund/canal block, as well as supported in monitoring the previous fire spots which reported with reoccurred smouldering or repeated fires. Relevant materials have been shared with the involved stakeholders to support fire management including undertake appropriate fire prevention measures.

Figure 4: Smouldering spot detected from the project area, neighbouring LPT and the aerial view of canal block construction to increase water level.

5.      Enhancing Community Livelihood

One of the prominent livelihood activities that has been carried out is oyster mushroom cultivation that involved indigenous community of Kampung Meranti. The activity is a continuation from mushroom training workshop by Pekan Mushroom Resources (PMR), following which the community and GEC have constructed a mushroom house and placed mushroom spawns for production. The mushroom cultivation aims to provide a shift in normal practices that the local community are relying on limited forest and non-forest products for their living. The targeted outcome is to reduce the risk of fire occurrence by providing alternative for the local community to generate income and lessen human activities into the forest. In addition, the owner of the PMR also showed another alternative in reducing pineapple wastes by using shredder – which later the shredded residue can be used for substrate of mushroom spawn.

Figure 5: Community mushroom cultivation project commenced in Kampung Meranti.

6.      Community Nursery Management With the risk of flooding within the potential planting areas in the landscape, it is proposed to plant water tolerant plant species for the restoration, namely Gelam (Melaleuca leucadendra) which is a local and native species found in wet areas near coastal and peat swamp in Kampung Baharu Cenderawasih. A few community members have indicated interest to set up a community nursery to nurture the wildings. The community members were provided general information and training on plant features and nursery management. 

Figure 6: Briefing session on nursery management and initial establishment of community nursery

7.      Community Outreach Programme on Forest Fire Prevention

In response to forest and land fire issues in April-June 2023, GEC, with multi-stakeholder collaboration, has initiated the Community Outreach (also the Communication, Education, and Public Awareness (CEPA)) Programme on Forest and Land Fire Prevention. The programme co-organisers include agencies such as Pahang Department of Environment (DOE) and Pahang component of the Sustainable Management of Peatland Ecosystems in Malaysia (SMPEM) Project. The programme was held on 18 August at Kampung Baharu Cenderawasih with the involvement of various government agencies, including representatives from Pekan Department of Agriculture (DOA), the Pahang Department of Minerals and Geosciences (JMG), Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board (MPIB), Fire and Rescue Department (BOMBA) as well as Pahang State Forestry Department (JPNP). The event was a success which attended by 100 participants, mainly from the pineapple farmers in the village. They were advised to apply best management practices in pineapple farm management to prevent any fire risks. The event also welcomed a team of 10 community fire brigade members from the village to be the frontline responders in combating small-scale land fire if occurs in their village.

Figure 7: About 100 participants attended the Fire Awareness Event at Kampung Baharu Cenderawasih on 18 August

8.      Maintenance of Canal Blocks

Several canal blocks in the recovery project area have been repaired and strengthened to ensure the structure will retain the water at set optimum level during the construction. There are four canal blocks that have been maintained in the project area, nearby YPPH boundary, that are playing key role in providing sufficient water source for supressing fire and smouldering spots. The maintenance work includes enforce strength of bank structure at the blocks from eroding, in view of the start of the wet season in October. This work was mainly co-funded by Enggang Holdings.

Figure 8: Work in progress of canal block maintenance at site.  

9.      Community Peer Learning Forum in Selangor

GEC has organised a Community Peer Learning Forum (Forum Pembelajaran Bersama Komuniti dan Lawatan Sambil Belajar di Selangor) on 10-12 July 2023 with objective to provide a platform in gathering communities that have been collaborating with GEC for peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and experiences exchange. Representatives from the community of Kampung Baharu Cenderawasih and Kampung Meranti attended the forum.

Figure 9: Community representatives from YPPH-GEC Recovery Area (both the Kampung Meranti and Kampung Baharu Cenderawasih) attended the Community Peer Learning Forum in Selangor