One Million Trees for the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Malaysia’s Natural Resources and Environment Minister G. Palanivel has promised that the Malaysian government will embark on a three year tree planting project in the country’s Cameron Highlands.

The tree-planting programme would be carried out in stages over three years with the cooperation of Persatuan Pencinta Alam Malaysia (MNS), Regional Environmental Awareness Cameron Highlands (Reach) and Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam (Peka). It is hoped that the programme will result in the planting of 1 million trees in an area that has been ravaged by illegal clearing in recent years. It is thought that there is as much as 6,000 hectares of illegally cleared land in the Cameron Highlands.

Example of deforested hillsides in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Photo: Kelantan
Example of deforested hillsides in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Photo: Kelantan

The government promised to come down hard on illegal logging in July this year. Sadly little was to come of the promises.

More recently the government were forced to act after illegal clearing was blamed for the flash floods that swept through the area on 05 November, killing 5 people and displacing over 200. Similar flash floods a year earlier killed at least 4 people.

In a mountainous region tree play a vital role in preventing storm water runoff and soil erosion. Once heavy rainfall strikes, mountainsides stripped of trees are a disaster waiting to happen.

Natural Resources and Environment Ministry also plan to carry out other flood mitigation plans, including the deepening of the Sungai Bertam river and repairs to the river’s banks.

Emergency rescue teams work at the site of a mudslide in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Photo: Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia
Emergency rescue teams work at the site of a mudslide in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Photo: Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia