Call for increased rainforest conservation efforts
Brunei Darussalam has pristine rainforest protected by law and is considered Southeast Asia’s biodiversity hotspot due to its diverse ecosystem. Although it occupies less than one percent of Borneo’s area, it is ranked second among ASEAN member countries with an area of high forest.
This was highlighted by Joffre bin Haji Ali Ahmad, Acting Senior Special Service Officer of the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT), during his presentation on “Brunei Darussalam’s Forest Biodiversity is Special” at the Brunei Darussalam Conference on Forests: “Forests and Biodiversity: Unveiling its Economic Potential”.
Organized by the MPRT, through the Forestry Department and co-organizer of the Brunei Climate Change Secretariat (BCCS) in collaboration with the Brunei Mid-Year Conference and Exhibition (MYCE) 2021, it was held at Musyawarah Room, International Convention Center (ICC) in Berakas yesterday.
Joffre said: “Brunei is a small country with a total area of 5,765 square kilometers; in 72 percent of its area is still covered with biologically diverse tropical forests. There are seven distinct forest types: mangrove, peat swamp, freshwater swamp, kerangas or moors, beach type, mixed dipterocarp, and mountain.
“There are rich biodiversity resources that remain safeguarded but not yet well documented. The flora and fauna of the country are estimated at around 9,000 species of seed plants, including 2,000 species of trees and 960 wild species of mammals, birds and reptiles.
“The 1996 checklist remains a good reference for the state of the country’s biodiversity, with 3,500 recorded species, including 3,450 seed plants, including 1,902 tree species.
Joffree added, “Now is a good time to identify the country’s economic potential and step up efforts to conserve the rainforest. The country has identified and studied a rare endemic plant in the past. Preservation of the plant with horticultural technology shows a good possibility of commercializing tropical orchids and other plants.
“Since 2013, the Brunei Forestry Department and Singapore Botanic Gardens, along with other centers and specialists, continue to work on botanical exploration and research to advance our knowledge of the diversity of Brunei specular plants. .
Meanwhile, Associate Professor at the Institute for Biodiversity and Environmental Research (IBER), Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) Dr Rahayu Sukmaria binti Haji Sukri also made a presentation on “Biodiversity Research at Universiti Brunei Darussalam : Support economic diversification and protection ”during which she referred to the research carried out by the institute.
MPRT Permanent Secretary Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abdul Wahab and MPRT Deputy Permanent Secretary Haji Mohd Yusree bin Haji Junaidi were also present.