It was an early morning when I joined a mix of media and performers on the bus that would take us to Wetlands National Park for the greening campaign, in cooperation with Sarawak Tourism Board, the Sarawak Forestry Department and Petronas. This project includes an annual mangrove planting ceremony linked to the Rainforest World Music Festival, this year in its 19th edition.
Upon arrival at the Samariang Jetty, we boarded our boat for the 10 minutes ride to the National Park site. There, we joined with several representatives of the 3 partners above mentioned, where we got shown the results of previous years replanting campaign. There is no doubt that the mangroves play an important part both in terms of helping protect the local species (one of the most well-known is the proboscis monkeys, endemic to the area, which feed on the mangrove leaves) and the site from natural disasters like a tsunami.
This campaign and its efforts to do greening greatly benefit the mangroves. The Forest Department representative gave us a briefing with regards to the importance of the local mangroves, and this in particular, which is one of the 5 Ramsar site in Malaysia. There are currently 2200 Ramsar site in the whole world, and I was stunned to learn that the 5 in Malaysia are all here in Sarawak.
The mangrove replanting started after, in order to enlarge the river (populated by as many as 500 adult crocodiles), lots of soil was dug out and transferred to the mangrove site, destroying a large area of the park. The rehabilitation is now in its 5th year and the results can easily be seen: the site is blooming with healthy plants, and mudskippers and crabs of all types and colours can easily be seen.
We enjoyed the welcoming speech by Forestry Department and Sarawak Tourism Board representatives, which were followed by the presentation of mementos to the mangrove replanting event partners.
What followed was a muddy walk into the national park soil where we had fun getting our hands dirty and planting 150 mangroves seedlings straight from the greenhouses.
After a light lunch of sandwiches and local banana cakes, we made our way back to Samariang ferry where we boarded the bus back to Damai.
Mangroves (Rhizophora Mucronata) environment includes mudflats, sandy beaches, canals and forests. Thumbs up for Sarawak for protecting the mangroves!
The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. There are presently over 160 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with about 2200 wetland sites, totalling near 200 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
RAINFOREST WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
The Rainforest World Music Festival is a unique festival that brings together on the same stage renowned world musicians from all continents and indigenous musicians from the interiors of the mythical island of Borneo. The 19th edition of the Rainforest World Music Festival is held at Sarawak Cultural Village from August 5 to 7, 2016.
Browse for LINE UP and future dates at www.rwmf.net
Asianitinerary stayed at the Damai Beach Resort: http://asianitinerary.com/damai-beach-resort/