Malaysia: Research on how to save Johor mangrove forests, NGO urged

Mohd Farhaan Shah The Star 2 Dec 11;

JOHOR BARU: A non-governmental organisation (NGO) urged proper studies to be conducted to save mangrove forests especially in Tanjung Piai and Pulau Kukup in Pontian.

Malaysian Nature Society Johor branch chairman Vincent Chow said that the situation of mangrove forests especially in Tanjung Piai are quite worryingly.

He explained that it is never too late to save the mangrove forests and the state government should conduct proper studies that would benefit the rehabilitation of mangrove forests in the long run.

“The new method by the state national parks of mixing mangrove seedlings with sawdust onto soil could prove successful in a short term.

“However, the area along the coastline is widely used by vessels where the shipping waves and sea waves have destroyed the mangroves,” he said adding that such method may not be the smart way to save the mangroves forest.

Chow also urged the state government to look back into the proposal to create a man-made island as a barrier to the strong waves.

“Besides becoming a barrier, the man-made island could also help improve the livelihood of the local fishermen and its ecosystem.

“Due to oil spills and constant pollution in the area, it has caused the numbers of fish and prawns to decrease,” he said adding that the man-made island could also help reclaim some lands lost due to the depleting numbers of mangroves.

It was recently reported that the state’s mangrove forests are being depleted at a rate of 5,000 trees a year due to pollution and oil spills.

The poor state of mangrove forests in Tanjung Piai had been identified and highlighted in the 2010 Auditor-General’s report.

The report also identified that sawdust which was acidic and contained heavy metals had caused the mangroves to die.