TH Plantations committed to a 7-year forest and peatland conservation project at Johor’s Gunung Arong Forest Reserve
TH Plantations Berhad (TH Plantations) has allocated RM5 million to fund and support the Johor State Forestry Department (JSFD), Global Environment Centre (GEC) and the local communities to conserve 4,300 ha of coastal forests and peatlands in the northeast portion of Gunung Arong Forest Reserve (GAFR) in Mersing, Johor through a seven-year project ending in 2029. The project was launched in October 2023 after a year-long field assessment covering vegetation, fauna, fish, water, forest-type, mapping and local community stakeholder engagement that was completed in August 2023.
TH Plantations recognised that its operations are surrounded by local ecosystems and biodiversity and the importance of respecting these habitants, supporting the sustainability of the ecosystems and its impact on climate change mitigation.
TH Plantations as a responsible oil palm plantation company and part of the Lembaga Tabung Haji Group, we are honoured to participate in this programme as part of our sustainability agenda and commitment to protecting and conserving the environment. As part of an Islamic organisation that supports the objectives of Maqasid Shariah, we are called to ensure the success of this environment conservation project which is one of the important elements to protect the interests of all creatures.This project allows THP to revive the degraded part of the permanent reserved forest in hope that the effort will improve and return to its natural ecosystem and biodiversity.
Most of the communities surrounding GAFR are the Hajj Fund Depositors and are indirectly TH Plantations stakeholders. The success of TH Plantations as a sustainable plantation company will translate to providing good returns to its largest investor Lembaga Tabung Haji as well as TH depositors. Thus, participating in the conservation programme by engaging with the local communities and landowners will have a direct positive impact to the local communities in ensuring sustainable land management, fire prevention and ultimately climate change.
This project aims to help protect and restore the degraded peat swamp forest and coastal area and address some of the most pressing environmental issues that our generation is facing: forest fire, pollution, species extinction and climate change. The key objectives of the project include developing a management strategy for the forest using a landscape management approach and participation of relevant stakeholders and enhance the protection of the forest area. At the same time, the project aims to rehabilitate degraded areas through re-wetting, assisted natural regeneration and selected tree planting, and support engagement of local communities and other stakeholders in fire prevention, forest rehabilitation, education and public awareness and sustainable livelihoods.
The project is of great importance to showcase multi-stakeholder partnership in protecting critical forest landscapes. It will involve local communities especially those from Kg. Tenglu Batu 6, Kg. Air Papan, and Kg. Penyabong, to establish mechanisms and incentives for their involvement in the conservation of the forests and sustainable use of the adjacent areas. These include measures such as restoring the hydrological regime, tree planting, fire prevention and patrolling, and communication, education, and public awareness (CEPA). GEC will also help the state government and JSFD in promoting recreation and tourism activities in the area and train local people as tour guides.
The project is in accordance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs), in line with Johor State Peat Swamp Forest Management Plan 2021-2030 as well as eco-tourism and supports the Greening Malaysia Programme via the National 100 Million Tree Planting Campaign and contribute to Malaysia's commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.