The Coalition for the Protection of Selangor’s Forests calls on the Selangor state government to stop the proposed degazetting of the Kuala Langat north forest reserve.
Earth Day. A time to reflect and ask what we need to do to secure a healthier environment and future for ourselves.
Closer to home for all of us in Selangor is the fate of Kuala Langat north forest reserve. Will the state government decide that it remains a forest reserve or de-gazette it for a mixed development project?
The Kuala Langat north forest reserve is mainly peat swamp forest with smaller areas of lowland dipterocarp forest. Peat lands are critical for preserving global biodiversity, providing safe drinking water, minimising flood risks and helping address climate change, ie they are an important carbon sink in climate change mitigation measures.
This forest reserve is an area of importance for biodiversity conservation that supports rare species such as meranti bunga, meranti bakau, the Malayan sun bear and the Selangor endemics, the Selangor pygmy flying squirrel and the rare Langat red fighting fish.
The forest is also of significant importance to Orang Asli communities (from the Temuan tribe) as it has been their home for more than 150 years.
The degazetting of this forest reserve would disregard the rights of the Orang Asli community. The state government must seek to be fair and equitable and recognise and protect the native customary rights of the indigenous communities in the area.
Peat swamp forest degradation is responsible for large-scale greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere. It is one of the main contributors to global climate change.
The development of this forest reserve (including tree felling, peat excavation and drainage) will lead to the release of 5.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change.
We therefore call on the Selangor state government to stop the proposed degazetting of the Kuala Langat north forest reserve and instead protect it in perpetuity and manage it in partnership with the Orang Asli community.