No Letting Up on Saving Forest – The Star, Aug 2019

No Letting Up on Saving Forest – The Star, Aug 2019

ADAMANT to save the precious 161.9ha Shah Alam Forest in Section U10, the Shah Alam Community Forest (SACF) Society is again urging the Selangor government to gazette the forest. The society wants it to be a community-managed forest reserve. It was part of the wider 9,642ha Bukit Cerakah Forest Reserve.

The Star had reported in January that the forest formed a critical ecological corridor connecting the two remaining patches of Bukit Cerakah Forest Reserve. The report also said the forest land ownership was divided into two parts – 52.61ha of state land with no use and 109.27ha of Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) land earmarked for residential development.

Society president Jyn Yeow feared PKNS would demolish what was left of the forest to make way for development.

“It is important to protect the forest for recreational, educational and ecological purposes. We constantly talk about how the weather is getting hotter nowadays, but we do not realise that the reason for this is because a vast number of trees are being felled,” she said during the Shah Alam Community Forest Open Day.

Yeow said the Shah Alam Forest must be saved as it is a favourite hiking spot and housed large mammals, including tapirs that are endangered.

Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam (PEKA) has also joined in the fight to save the forest.

“We need the forest more than you think. Having fresh air every day is a basic necessity. If all the trees here are cut, the air quality will worsen,” said Peka vice-president Sophie Tann.

Present at the event was Kota Anggerik assemblyman Najwan Halimi, who said the community had to be persistent to achieve this goal.

“The proposed commercial development will take away the last remaining green lung in Shah Alam, he said.

He also encouraged the community to organise more similar programmes to gain support from neighbouring cities.

“I will bring up this issue in Parliament and give my full commitment to protect the forest,” he added.

The open day was held to request the forest be gazetted. It saw more than 300 participants and several exhibitors including second year students from UiTM Shah Alam’s Faculty of Architecture, Planning And Surveying who camped in the forest for four days to conduct research as part of their final project.

Their findings showed there were endangered flora in the forest, namely the Keruing Bulu, a tree that has been listed in the “vulnerable” category for extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Among the activities held at the open day were hikes to watch the sunrise and nature walks to get the community to be more aware on the importance of maintaining the forest.

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