Trees for
the Future

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Safeguarding the Central Forest Spine: Trees for the Future

Peninsular Malaysia was once swathed in lush forests, but between 1954 and 2000, almost nine million ‘football fields’ of forests were lost to agriculture, infrastructure development, commercial logging, and mining. The Federal Government’s Central Forest Spine (CFS) Masterplan to connect four large forest complexes with a series of ecological linkages may be the last hope for the Malayan tiger, Asian elephant, and most hornbill species. But while work on the CFS is underway, parts of the major forest complexes and some of the ecological linkages are slowly shrinking or in some cases disappearing outright.

“Safeguarding the Central Forest Spine: Trees for the Future” is a multimedia project seeking to understand how people and wildlife restore rainforests.

What if there are seed collectors who are saving tree species from the brink of extinction – to grow their own forests so when these trees do flower, set fruit and seed, they could help replant degraded forests or establish new forests?

And what if there are animals that can do the job of a farmer and plant seeds effortlessly to grow new trees?

After 12 months of reporting to answer these ‘what ifs’ – in the middle of a pandemic lockdown and at the tail-end of Typhoon Rai no less – Southeast Asia Rainforest Journalism Fund grantees Leong Hon Yuen, Roslan Carang, Azam Carang, Marisan Pandak, Dedi Roslan, Noordin Asu and Mustapa Ramlee present their work at a year-long Public Programme from 19 March 2022.

It would be simpler to write and publish feature articles which would easily satisfy the grant’s criteria. However, we felt that public engagement with what we discovered in the course of our reporting, would also aid in people’s understanding of forest restoration, its problems and solutions.

Thus, we welcome you to watch the films, join a guided walk (online) to a private arboretum of endangered forest trees, and to a private indigenous garden (onsite), and visit the photography exhibition of Peninsular Malaysia’s first full-time indigenous people or Orang Asli involved in forest and hornbill conservation. Engage with subject experts during the online Q&A sessions in March 2022 on the subject of Safeguarding the Central Forest Spine: Trees for the Future.

Special Thanks

The Public Programme would not have been possible without the assistance of the public, individuals, organisations and exhibition venues. We’d like to record our special thanks to:

– StarMedia Group for accepting our feature articles for publication in StarLifestyle
– Rimbun Dahan, Hin Bus Depot, and Gallery GERIMIS for hosting the exhibition.
– Angela Hijjas and Henry Barlow for leading the walks and sharing their personal stories
– Yeap Chin Aik for taking charge of the weekend talks and activities at Hin Bus Depot, Penang (and also as speaker)
– Reality Rentals and Videoquip – for sound gear support
– The camera and sound crew, who accepted a lower fee or pro bono
– Members of the public including family, friends and fans of MNS, Factual TV, GERIMIS Art Project and Gerai OA for their contributions to cover the travel, accommodation, and meals for the six Orang Asli photographers to come and attend their exhibition openings to share with the public why forests, hornbills and honey matter.
– Members of the public also contributed to two other Orang Asli livelihoods through contributions made to watch the two films at (March 2022), namely the Orang Asli Nursery at Kg Klewang, Royal Belum State Park, and the Orang Asli helping locate new hornbill nests for the MNS Hornbill Conservation Project in Belum-Temenggor Forest Complex.
– Finally, we acknowledge Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia’s Improving Connectivity of the Central Forest Spine as our exhibition partner because without a forest there cannot be Hep Ka-Wot Enggang Le-Wei (forests, hornbills & honey) exhibition by the Indigenous People of Belum-Temenggor Forest Complex.

The Project is supported by the Rainforest Journalism Fund in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, and Factual TV. The Exhibition and Film Screenings are supported by HY and HS Leong. The Exhibition at Gallery GERIMIS is co-organised by Factual TV and GERIMIS.

Our Venues

19 March 2022

Southeast Asian Indigenous Rain Forest Garden Guided Walk by Angela Hijjas

Including a visit to the new Forest Nursery and a Tree Planting & Care demonstration by Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM)'s research officer Norsham Yaakob.

19 March - 22 March 2022

Film Screenings, Guided Walk and Q&A sessions (All Online)

Double Bill: Documentary film "Backyard Rainforests" and "Arboretum of Genting Tea Estate Guided Walk by Henry S. Barlow" and a Q&A session with the documentary journalist and interviewees.

Documentary Film "Lak Wak Tu Neng" (Tracking Love), Q&A session with the filmmaker and cast.

19 March - 2 April 2022

Hep Ka-Wot Enggang Le-Wei (Forests, Hornbills & Honey) Photography Exhibition

19 March - Due to SOPs, open to invited guests, the Media, and Guided Walk participants

20 March - 2 April - Free admission to the Public, booking is compulsory

4 - 26 June 2022

Hep Ka-Wot Enggang Le-Wei (Forests, Hornbills & Honey) Photography Exhibition

Walk-ins are welcomed. Meet the Orang Asli photographers every weekend in June. Bookings for weekend talks and activities are encouraged as seating capacity is limited. Daily screenings (except when there is a talk/activity) include short documentaries "Backyard Rainforests" and "Lak Wak Tu Neng (Tracking Love)," and the video "Arboretum of Genting Tea Estate Guided Walk by Henry S. Barlow."

17 December 2022 - 28 February 2023

Hep Ka-Wot Enggang Le-Wei (Forests, Hornbills & Honey) Photography Exhibition

Opening weekend with the Orang Asli photographers. Pop-up crafts by Orang Asal, Tualang beeswax wraps, and native books on sale including talks, guided tours and documentary screenings at Gallery GERIMIS and Taiwan Reading Corner in GMBB, Kuala Lumpur (17 December) and at Centre for Malaysian Indigenous Studies (CMIS), Petaling Jaya (18 December). Exhibition until 28 February 2023.

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