By Sashwinni Chandrasagaran –

On the 9th – 12th of November 2014, three representatives from TRCRC and Landskap Malaysia ( respectively, attended the Heart of Borneo conference that took place at The Magellan Sutera, Sutera Harbour Resort, Kota Kinabalu (KK). This huge 4-day event is a combination of 2 separate conferences and a celebration – the Sabah Forestry Department’s Centennial Celebration, the Heart of Borneo (HoB) conference, and the 17th Malaysian Forestry conference.

The TRCRC team, including Dzaeman Dzulkifli, Noor Ain, Sashwinni, and Ashriff travelled by land from Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu (KK) using the company’s Nissan Navara. The drive there was an absolute sight see with the visibility of beautiful mountains and just what nature has to offer. On the 9th morning, the TRCRC team was occupied with the task of setting up the exhibition booth for during both the conferences take place. This being the first time TRCRC was participating in the exhibition during the conference, the task of setting up and mending the booth throughout the event was carried out by Noor Ain and Sashwinni.

The Centennial Celebration on the night of 9th November was a grand and entertaining celebration at Padang Merdeka where YABhg. Tun Jeanne Abdullah, our Chairman and alongside her YABhg. Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Advisor to the Board of Trustees of TRCRC attended and was part of two book launches – History of Logging in North Borneo and The Green Heart of Sabah. There were opening speeches by the Right Honourable Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman, Chief Minister of Sabah, and YABhg. Datuk Sam Mannan, Director of Sabah Forestry Department, a parade by various forestry departments and collaborative agencies & partners, dance performances, an exhibition tour, and to top it all off, fireworks! The night was much enjoyed by everyone present, kudos organizers! YABhg. Tun Jeanne Abdullah continued her stay till the end of the four-day event, attending both the conferences.

The next day was The Heart of Borneo conference that started with the arrival of the Minister of Natural Resources & Environment, VVIPs, and invited guests. Our teams were all busy attending the talks and mending the booth. The conference took off with a welcome address by Datuk Sam Mannan, followed by a speech and launching of the HoB conference by the Minister of Natural Resources & Environment, Datuk Seri Palanivel, and the launching of the Telupid Forest Reserve Complex book. The rest of the day was scheduled with talks addressing the global and practitioners perspectives in forestry. The keynote talk given by Prof. Dr. Greg Asner was particularly one of the highlights of the talks. He spoke on the capabilities of the Carnagie airborn observatory (CAO) and later on, spoke about the possibilities of applying the technology in Malaysia, in particular Sabah. The program ended at 5.oopm and was followed by a welcoming dinner with all other guests.

Greg Asner, keynote speaker (middle)

Dzaeman explaining TRCRC’s current and upcoming projects to Dr. Hakim from MGEN Propagation Sdn. Bhd. and Dr. Robert Ong from Sabah Forestry Department

The 17th Malaysian Forestry conference lasted for the last two days with the speeches and launching by, Datuk Seri Panglima Muasa Haji Aman, Chief Minister of Sabah and Datuk Seri Palanivel, Minister of Natural Resources & Environment. The two-day conference carried on with six workshop sessions addressing topics such as forest management, forest governance, forest biodiversity, plantation forestry, forest ecosystem services and social forestry, and a closing dinner at Padang Merdeka.

Dzaeman speaking to Minister of Natural Resources & Environment, Datuk Seri Palanivel about TRCRC

YABhg. Tun Jeanne Abdullah and the rest of the team networking and spreading awareness about TRCRC

Conclusively, it was a great event as TRCRC gained much more exposure locally as well as internationally, and also was presented the opportunity to network with possible future collaborators. Most importantly, we gained knowledge on how to enhance our project results while mitigating/eliminating problems that arise. Below is a TED Talk video by Greg Asner on the mapping of nature in meticulous kaleidoscopic 3D detail – ecology from the air.

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