Summary of Activities at Biodiversity centre, Gunung Brinchang 2017

by Cheam May Choo

1.Research with Universiti Malaysia Kelantan

A letter of intent was signed with the Universiti Malaysia Kelantan UMK on the 31st of March 2017 at the biodiversity site in Gunung Brinchang.

In the Letter of Intent, it is stated that both parties shall cooperate in the field of research and conservation as well as field data sharing related to but not limited to research and development and other forms of academic/social collaboration and sharing of resources, facilities, knowledge and skills at the respective institutions for the purpose of research and conservation.After the signing, UMK presented Reach with 2 large posters and 3 research reports.The first poster is on butterflies, moths and beetles. and is prepared by students Nur Amira Zamari Aris, Nursyahirah Zakaria and Nurul Ain Sha’ari and lecturer Cik Nivaarani Arumugam.The second poster is on lichens.The lichens were photographed and documented by Dr Suganthi Appalasamy and Dr Boon Jia Geng

3 research reports were prepared by UMK students ie Diversity of Butterfly at Reach biodiversity centre by Nur Amira bt Zamari Aris, Diversity of Moth at Reach biodiversity centre by Nursyahirah bt Zakaria and Diversity of Beetles at Reach Biodiverisity centre by Nurul Ain Bt Sha’ari. All 3 studies were done at the Reach Biodiversity Centre from July 2016 to August 2016.

In July 2017, 3 groups of students and lecturers conducted research at the Biodiversity Centre. The groups are as follows:

GROUP 1                                                                                                                      

5 students and a lecturer conducted research on small mammals and bats from 6th to 20th of July 2017. The group was headed by  Dr. Jayaraj Vijaya Kumaran

GROUP 2

This group of 5 students and 2 lecturers did research on flora from the 6 to 7th of July 2017 and were led by Dr. Suganthi Appalasamy.

GROUP 3

This group of 10 students, 2 lecturers and a lab assistant conducted research on flora from the 10th to 15th of July 2017 and were led by Dr. Nazahatul Anis Amaludin and  Dr. Radhiah Zakaria.

2.Collaboration with Meteorological Department on Climate Monitoring

In October 2016 a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Meteorological Department of Malaysia to cooperate in the development and support of research in Climate Monitoring and Atmospheric composition at the Biodiversity Centre in Gunung Brinchang. It would be for a period of 5 years. The findings would be shared by both parties.

In 2017, monitoring of 4 atmospheric parameters began. They include NO nitrogen oxide, NO2 nitrogen dioxide, SO2 sulphur dioxide, and NH# amnonia. Readings are taken monthly and shared with the Meteorological Department. A report on the findings will be out soon.

Reach would like to pay tribute to the memory of the late Mr Ong Lian Poh, former head of  Cameron Highlands Weather Station who worked hard to make this possible.

3.Research on preparation of soil improvement material for organic farming

Mr Ng Tien Khuan is currently conducting research on the preparation of soil improvement material using the biodynamic process. In 2017, good quality biodynamic preparation was successfully produced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary of CSI Activities for 2017

by Cheam May Choo

Our CSI or community stream investigation programme in 2017 continues to be one of the more popular activity amongst students and adults alike.(CSI programme was initially sponsored by CIMB in 2009 and the excess funds were carried over to the next few years. In 2015 Prince Tunku Imran and Mr Paul Chuah gave us more funds ).In March 2017 we received a grant of RM 5000 from the National River Care Fund under GEC (Global Environment Centre) to continue this and CSI has now become an annual affair for our local schools.

Our CSI programme uses simple biological,chemical and physical parameters to gauge the quality of the river water. Students are briefed on the techniques in the field and then made to apply them. Results from a clean river and a dirty river are then compared and discussed. This programme comes at a low cost and is very “hands on”. Students see for themselves the impact of contamination of river water in the real world.The kids love it especially when it comes to analysing clean streams as they get a chance to frolic in them and catch bugs.

For the year 2017,there were 8 such programmes which took place between July to October 2017 .They involved both primary and secondary schools. Our volunteers included Dr Liau Tai Leong, Geogina, Adam, Shuib, Tom, Pablo, Aurelein, Kah Wai,Joshua and Siva. Many thanks to them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary of REACH Reforestation Programme for the year 2017

by Cheam May Choo

For the year 2017, reforestation activities were mainly carried out  in a new site in Batu Gangan, Kuala Terla while the site in Gunung Brinchang, our biodiversity centre was used for research.

1. Batu Gangan site in Kuala Terla

On 24th of May 2017  REACH was awarded a grant of RM 50,000 to restore 2 hectares of reclaimed forest in the Batu Gangan forest reserves under the Greening of Cameron Highlands project. The site was located at the far reaches of our largest water catchment area, the Sungai Terla water catchment area.For this grant we had to plant 1200 endemic trees in 6 months from July to December 2017.

The Greening of Cameron Highlands project is basically a project formed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment NRE (which also includes involvement of NGOs) to undertake rehabilitation and  restoration of encroached forests reclaimed by the Government  following the crackdown on illegal land clearings and foreign workers which started in 2014.

IMG-20170524-WA0009

The first few visits in May and June 2017 were mainly to recee the area. Subsequently  we constructed a toilet and a covered area for participants. As this site was already a secondary forest we had to clear some undergrowth in order to plant the trees. We made many visits in June and July 2017 and we were assisted by 3 French volunteers namely Tom, Aurelien and Pablo and our local volunteers Dr Liau Tai Leong, Siva Das, Utaya Kumar, Roy Margaret, Encik Khairil Anwar, Ros Benjamin, Saraswathi Munusamy, Geogina Khong, Gopindran, Danial Harikh,Rajeswaran, Amizal and Kahfi.

In October and November 2017, schools joined in and they included SKConvent, SJKC Bertam Valley, SJKC Tanah Rata and SMK Ringlet. In all we made a total of 17 visits. Every visit was documented.

A video depicting these efforts can be viewed at  Restoration of disturbed forests in Cameron Highlands

The trees planted were mainly from seeds propagated many months earlier. Some were from wildings. The species include Ara,Geruk, Merpauh,Medang Serai, Medang Payung, Kelat, Ratsamala, Eugenia and Rhododendrons.

2.Gunung Brinchang site

Only one group Data Dimension came to do reforestation at this site ( 13th August 2017)as the area is almost entirely reforested. Data Dimension has been supporting us for many years and 2017 was no different.

For the coming years we hope to continue our work with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmnent to restore our highland forests.

 

 

Reforestation at Batu Gangan concludes

by Cheam May Choo

In the months of August and September 2017,  due to logistic difficulties our reforestation programme slowed . However we managed to complete the toilets and the covered rest area in time for the students who would be coming in the following months.  Site preparation continued with undergrowth being cleared.

Date: 3rd October 2017

31 students and 3 teachers from SK Convent, Tanah Rata planted 100 saplings. The facilitators were Mr Satya from EcoCameron , Saras and Vebry. Trees included Ara, Rhododendrons and Eugenia. At 8 am students were picked up from Tanah Rata and they reached the site around 9 am. After a briefing by Mr Satya , they planted the trees. Light refreshments were served and by 12 noon they headed back. This programme would be similar for all the other schools.

REACH 18th Annual General Meeting 2018

Dear REACH Member

Notice is hereby given that REACH 18th, Annual General Meeting will be held as follows:

Date                :           14th  March  2018 Wednesday

Time               :           7.00pm

 Venue             :         IJ  Barre Centre , Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands.

Agenda :-

1. President’s welcoming address.

2.To confirm the minutes of the 17th Annual General Meeting.

3.To adopt the annual report 2017.

The activity report is presented by the subcommittee of the program

a. Reforestation

b.Community Stream Investigation

c.Environmental & Education Programme

4.To approve the audited Statements of Accounts ending 31st Dec 2017

5.To consider any other matters of which 7 clear days notice shall have been given in writing to the secretary.

6. President’s closing speech.

 We appreciate your attendance.

Thank you,

Mr Ramakrishnan Ramasamy

President

CSI Community Stream Investigation 2017- Rivers never lie

by Cheam May Choo

Rivers never lie– Rivers are akin to our arteries and veins and the water that courses through them are akin to the blood that flows in us. The healthier the water the healthier the environment, the healthier our blood the healthier us. The rivers will tell us how they are faring -from their appearance, their colour, their smell and the creatures that live within them. They don’t lie. And this forms the basis of our CSI (community stream investigation) programme.

CSI remains a popular environmental education activity for us since it was first developed by Dr Liau Tai Leong, our vice president in 2009. We had wanted to come up with an activity that was both interesting and relevant to the locals and visitors alike. He used information he had gleaned from observing our very talented and industrious Dutch volunteers Antony van der Ent and Chantal while they were doing research for their thesis and incorporated it into a simple yet ‘hands-on’ programme. Over the years it was modified to suit the local condtions and a booklet detailing this was eventually published.

CSI programme was initially sponsored by CIMB (in 2009) and the excess funds were carried over to the next few years. In 2015 Prince Tunku Imran and Mr Paul Chuah gave us more funds and in March this year we received a small grant from the National River Care Fund under GEC (Global Environment Centre). This allowed us to continue and CSI has become an annual affair for our local schools.

The presence of bugs (in this case macroinvertebrates) is used to gauge the quality of the waters in our streams and rivers. Some of these bugs are so delicate eg stonefly larvae, dragonfly larvae, water pennies, that their mere presence indicate that the river water quality is and has been very clean and unpolluted. In contrast the mosquito larvae and the leeches can survive in contaminated waters. This water testing method comes at no economic cost and is in ‘real time.’ The children love this because they can frolic in the stream and ‘catch bugs’!

Normally at the start of each programme, Dr Liau or any of his trained volunteer will give a briefing on what this activity is about.

He will then explain the physical,chemical and biological ways to assess the water. Pictures of the bugs are given to aid identification.

The participants then adjourned to the rivers and results from a clean river Sg Pauh are compared to that of a dirty river Sg Bertam. Chemical testing