Best of our wild blogs: 23 Apr 17

29 April (Sat): FREE Ubin Mangrove tour with R.U.M.!
Restore Ubin Mangroves (R.U.M.) Initiative

Flight of the Whimbrels @ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve - 16Apr2017

Night Walk At Venus Drive (21 Apr 2017)
Beetles@SG BLOG

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Singapore opens 6th nature park, with another new park in the works

Dylan Loh Channel NewsAsia 22 Apr 17;

SINGAPORE: Singapore's sixth nature park, the 75-hectare Windsor Nature Park, was officially opened on Saturday (Apr 22).

Located at Upper Thomson Road, the park is linked to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. Visitors can walk along the Hanguana Trail – lined with rare native plants – and also see a marsh habitat and several freshwater streams within the park.

At the park's visitor pavilion, the public can also join workshops to learn about Singapore's natural heritage and ongoing conservation efforts.

At the opening ceremony, Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee also announced that another new park, the Rifle Range Nature Park, will open by 2020.

Mr Lee said: "Our network of nature parks is part of our commitment towards conserving our natural heritage in this city in a garden, in this biophyllic Singapore. But the nature parks themselves are just one part of the conservation story. What will ensure that our rich biodiversity endures is the attitude of our Singaporeans."

The upcoming Rifle Range Nature Park will cover 67 hectares and will be located at the southern end of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

Plans for the park include a sky garden for visitors to experience nature via an elevated walkway, and hiking trails with varying levels of difficulty.

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Malaysia: ‘Protected sun bears still being sold in Kapit’

FATIMAH ZAINAL The Star 23 Apr 17;

KUALA LUMPUR: Growing up in Kapit, Sarawak, Jenny Kong knew just how special her birthplace is.

A three-hour boat ride from Sibu, the small town boasts of a beautiful natural environment.

But a sad practice, she said, is prevailing in Kapit.

There is still the killing and trading of sun bears, which are a protected species, the Kapit native said.

“Their parts such as the bile and nails are all cut up and sold. Have you seen such a thing with your own eyes?” Kong, 21, asked.

“From the time I was a little girl until today, I would see sun bears being sold openly in the markets of Kapit,” she said.

The population of sun bears had dropped by 30% in the last 30 years, she added.

Kong, who is a student at the Institute of Teacher Education Tuanku Bainun Campus, was among six conservationists who spoke on environmental sustainability at the Sembang@WWF programme held at Wisma Kebudayaan Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) here yesterday.

The event was held in conjunction with Earth Day 2017, which was celebrated annually yesterday.

Hundreds of youths got together to learn about the latest climate science and actions that they could take in their communities.

“This year, we dedicate Earth Day to the youths because you are the voice of tomorrow.

“The exposure needs to begin from now, so you will be able to make informed decisions and have the right mindset and right behaviour to build a more sustainable future,” said WWF-Malaysia executive director and chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma.

SGM president Michael Kok said together with WWF-Malaysia they wanted to inspire more young people to put in greater effort to promote the agenda.

“A 15-year-old today will be an adult in 2030, the target year for the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he said.

The half-day event also marked WWF-Malaysia’s partnership with SGM to launch an animation series called When We’re Friends With Nature.

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Indonesia: Mangroves can help develop ecotourism -- Minister

Antara 23 Apr 17;

Demak, C Java (ANTARA News) - Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar stated that mangrove planting, aimed at preventing soil erosion, can also serve as a means to develop ecotourism.

"We highly support the development of ecotourism, particularly the planting of mangrove seeds," she said after planting mangrove seeds in Morosari coast in Demak, Central Java, on Saturday.

Besides serving as a tourist site, mangrove forests can also be used to boost production to support the economy, she stated.

Moreover, President Joko Widodo himself has stated that Java has beautiful scenery and that mangrove was a good choice to develop ecotourism, she added.

Demak Deputy District Head Joko Sutanto meanwhile noted that the Demak district government was encouraging local people, particularly those who earn their living as farmers and fishermen, to switch to develop tourism sector.

Among the popular tourist sites in Demak are Morosari coast and Syeh Abdullah Mudzakir grave, he remarked.

"The roads leading to the tourist sites will be planned in such way that visitors can reach them easily," he pointed out.

The district government will also build kiosks to sell the products of micro, small, and medium industries, he revealed. (*)

Most Mangrove Forests in Indonesia in Poor Condition
Tempo 23 Apr 17;

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Environment and Forestry minister Siti Nurbaya said that the condition of most mangroves on the coastal areas in Indonesia is not so good.

"52 percent of mangroves are in bad condition, while only 48 percent of them are in good condition," Sity explained while attending mangrove seed plantin in Bedono village, Sayung district, Demak regency, Central Java on Saturday (22/4).

She revealed that the area of mangroves in Indonesia streches up to 3,49 million heactares spread over 257 regencies/cities. However, each year, hundreds of thousands of hectares of the mangroves are in serious decline.

The damage is caused by numerous factors, among others reclamation, pollution, bad cultivation, and climate change.

"In general, the condition of coastal areas is difficult to maintain, but the government gradually keep trying to improve it," Siti added.

In order to preserve coastal areas, Siti said, there is no other way but to share roles to manage natural landscape from the coast up to the mountain peaks.


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Indonesia: Planting mangroves to save W. Kalimantan's beaches from erosion -- WWF

Severianus Endi The Jakarta Post 22 Apr 17;

Earth Day, which was celebrated globally on April 22, has become a crucial way for World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia to alert various parties about the erosion currently threatening beaches in West Kalimantan.

Data released by WWF Indonesia’s West Kalimantan program shows 193 kilometers of coastal areas in the northern part of the province have suffered damage from erosion and high tides since 2012.

“Mangrove restoration efforts need to be taken to tackle the situation. Apart from protecting the coastal areas, restoring mangroves will make positive impacts on society, ecologically, socially and economically,” WWF Indonesia-Kalimantan's program manager, Albert Tjiu, said in Pontianak on Friday.

Since 2009, WWF Indonesia has worked with its nine partner groups to periodically restore northern coastal areas, 55.25 hectares of land, with mangrove trees. With wider mangrove coverage, various plants and animals can be found in the areas.

“The mangrove areas have begun to become a prime tourism destination that supports the economy of people in their surrounding areas. This is like what has been conducted by Mempawah Mangrove Conservation in Mempawah regency and the conservation group, Surya Perdana Mandiri, in Singkawang City,” said Albert.

This year, he said, mangrove planting conducted by various stakeholders was focused on green-shield areas, such as Gosong Beach in Bengkayang regency and Setapuk Besar and Kuala districts in Singkawang City.

The Environmental Care Community (Kopling) Gosong Beach is holding a three-day camp-out and mangrove planting program from April 21 to 23. About 500 participants of the program will plant about 2,

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Indonesia: Crowds gather to witness Rafflesia flowers bloom

Antara 21 Apr 17;

Bengkulu (ANTARA News) - Crowds gathered to witness the 15 endemic Rafflesia arnoldii flowers blooming, by opening their six petals completely, at the Bukit Barisan conservation forest in Bengkulu Province, Gilang Ibnu, an environmentalist said here on Thursday (April 20).

"People have packed the area and the nearby Taba Teret Village to see the rare event of the flowers blooming process," Ibnu stated.

He further noted that people who wish to see the flowers blooming will have to drive for around one hour from Bengkulu city to the Taba Teret Village near the forest.

Jeni Rama, one of the visitors, remarked that the flowers usually reveal only five of their petals.

Many tourists were spotted taking "selfies" with the blooming flowers.

At a different occasion, a coordinator of the provinces rare flower campaigner (KPPL) Sofian Ramadhan pointed out that the forests sustainability remains a key to protect the flowers.

"Beside perpetrators who hunt the flowers, deforestation also threatens the plants existence," Ramadhan noted.

The flowers, which have served as the provinces icon, would continue to bloom for several days.

Rafflesia arnoldii was named after its two founders British botanists Joseph Arnold and Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. It has been dubbed as the worlds largest individual parasitic flower.

The Indonesian government has acknowledged it as a rare national flower (puspa langka), which is protected under the Presidential Decree No. 4 in 1993.

At the provinces conservation forest, at least four flowers, including Rafflesia arnoldii, R. gradutensis, R. hasselti, and R. bengkuluensis have been identified earlier by the scientists.

(Reported by Helti Marini Sipayung/Uu.KR-GNT/INE/KR-BSR/H-YH)

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Indonesia, Malaysia poised to set world Crude Palm Oil price

Andi Abdussalam Antara 23 Apr 17;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and Malaysia, the world largest Crude palm oil (CPO) producers hope they will eventually be able to set the worlds reference price for the commodity in future.

"Indonesia and Malaysia are expected to increase collaboration to set the global price and marketing. The most important thing is the price of CPO," Malaysias Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) Chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad said in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

Indonesia and Malaysia are the worlds number one and number two CPO producer countries with respective production of about 35 million tons and 18 million tons per annum. As they control more than 80 percent of the CPO market in the world, these countries have the potential to control its price too.

Indonesia is predicted to produce about 35 million tons of CPO in 2017, of which about 23 to 25 million tons are for exports. By 2020, Indonesias CPO production is expected to reach 40 million tons.

Indonesia exported 25 million tons of CPO last year -- mainly to India, China, Pakistan, and the Netherlands -- bringing in $17.8 billion in revenue, or about an eighth of the countrys total export proceeds.

So far, the world price of CPO has been determined by the Rotterdam market. According to the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (Gapki), the price of CPO has continued to fluctuate and touched the lowest level at US$629 per ton at the Rotterdam CPO bourse in 2015 from the previous level of $831 per ton.

However, the price was relatively stable at the end of 2016, at about $670 per ton. Gapki has predicted that the price of the commodity would be at an average of $680 to $690 per ton in 2017, according to Gapki executive director Fadhil Hasan late last year.

Hence, Indonesia and Malaysia should collaborate to place themselves as the world price trend setters of CPO. "What is more important is how Indonesia and Malaysia could decide the highest price in the global market," Samad remarked.

Samad noted that the stable price of CPO will have a positive impact on the palm oil industry, small farmers, and Felda pioneers.

Felda has the worlds largest palm oil plantations, with 811,140 hectares of palm oil trees in the Malaysian peninsula of Sabah and Sarawak. This company also manages palm oil plantations in Indonesia in cooperation with Rajawali Corp.

"The purchase of some stake in Rajawali is a strategic investment. We purchased the shares as our strategic move. However, we cannot reveal what strategies are there," he remarked.

Samad said his company has no plan yet to increase its stake.

"We will concentrate in the future to increase collaboration in deciding the CPO price in the global market," he noted.

He admitted it was not easy to expand plantations in Indonesia. Hence, it prefers to cooperate with Indonesian companies through share ownership participation.

Currently, Indonesia is estimated to have 11.6 million hectares of palm oil plantations. Of this total, some eight percent are managed by state companies, 49 percent by private CPO industries, and 43 percent belong to small farmers. The livelihood of about 16-20 million people depends on upstream and downstream palm oil businesses across Indonesia.

"This is (increasing collaboration) beneficial not only for Felda but also for both countries. This should start with cooperation. About 80 percent of the global CPO production comes from Indonesia and Malaysia," Samad pointed out.

Samad had earlier met Indonesian Minister of Villages, Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration Eko Putro Sandjojo, who is also the investment liaison officer between Indonesia and Malaysia.

At an "Indonesia-Malaysia Business Matching" event, Sandjojo said that Indonesia is imposing a moratorium on the expansion of palm oil plantations. Thus, it is impossible to open up new plantations.

"What Felda is doing is to purchase the shares of companies that already have palm oil plantations," the minister explained.

Spokesman of the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association Tofan Mahdi noted that the reference price of CPO is determined in Rotterdam and the Kuala Lumpur Commodity Exchange.

"However, Indonesia is now attempting to set a global CPO reference price. The concept about it is still being drafted. There is also a Joint Marketing Office that has plantation companies, but it has yet to set a price that can serve as a global reference price," he added.

In the meantime, amid the efforts of CPO producer countries to put their products in the world market, there is a challenge coming from the European Union, through a resolution passed early this month.

The resolution, passed during a European Parliament plenary session, aims to counter the impact of unsustainable palm oil production, such as deforestation and habitat degradation. The resolution cited Southeast Asias role in particular.

Members of the European Parliament advocated that a single certification scheme should be implemented in order to guarantee that only sustainably produced palm oil enters the EU.

In response to this, the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) established by major producers -- Indonesia and Malaysia -- will convey its stance.

Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution stated that the CPOPC ministers will draft a joint communique. The council will also visit the EU in May to share its perspective as palm oil producers.

"The CPOPC ministers have expressed concern over the resolution of the EU parliament, as it is counterproductive to palm oil producing countries efforts on the sustainable management of resources," Darmin noted.(*)

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