PNR launches ‘Bring Back the Rainforest’ project

MIRI: Piasau Nature Reserve (PNR), the first community driven nature reserve in Sarawak, achieved another first with the implementation of the ‘Bring Back the Rainforest’ (BBtRF) Project.

According to Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) chief executive officer Wong Ting Chung, BBtRF is the beginning of their work on urban forestry programme in Sarawak.

Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud launched BBtRF Project on Sept 11 last year, which marked a new era in site restoration of PNR – landscape restoration and conservation of the degraded forest areas formerly called Piasau Camp, a residential area for Shell staff since 1950s.

“To SFC, BBtRF project is more than just a habitat rehabilitation undertaking involving the planting of native tree species in PNR.

“The ongoing development works at PNR are very important to SFC because this nature reserve provides a unique platform and opportunity for us to carry out pioneering work on urban forestry; namely to create a tropical rainforest at a venue that had basically been a residential enclave for over 50 years,” said Wong yesterday.

He made the remarks at the launch of BBtRF 2017 initiatives by Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh. Among those present were Miri mayor Adam Yii, State Financial Secretary’s Office (Procurement Division) director Abdul Kadir Zainuddin and PNR manager Samantha Kwan.

Wong added although they had just begun it was a good start, noting among their successes was securing great support and cooperation from Sarawak Shell and Petronas through their respective contributions of RM5 million each to establish the PNR Endowment Fund.

To date SFC recorded six corporate adopters – Sarawak Shell, Shin Yang Group, Ta Ann Holdings, WTK Group, Samling and Dayang Enterprise.

“We have succeeded to enlist the patronage of none other than TYT (the Head of State) for launching the BBtRF project a year ago,” Wong said, adding that the local community especially members of the Piasau Camp Nature Park Society (PCMNPS) had been giving unwavering support to the project.

As for the iconic hornbills at PNR, he said the number was increasing and by the end of this year, they expect to have a total of 24 hornbills resident at PNR.

“There are now more birds here and not only that, the older off springs of Jimmy and Faridah (deceased mother hornbill) have started coming back into the nature reserve; this is one of the heart warming outcomes of our restoration effort,” he pointed out.

On the progress of the project including Visitors Centre, Interpretation Centre, Nature Education Centre and various other facility enhancements including that of the walking paths and running tracks, he said overall, the progress stood at 61 per cent.

Among other initiatives and development were the launch of PNR website yesterday as well as social media platforms such as Facebook Page (@Piasau Nature Reserve) and Instagram (@piasau_naturereserve).