By Noor Ain Yahya –
In Dec 2012, 500 acres of degraded forests in Merisuli, Lahad Datu was allocated to TRCRC to restore to back to lowland Dipterocarp forests. Thanks to the Sabah Forestry Department’s first initiative, the once encroached land with scattered palm oil and agriculture plants were replaced by fast growing pioneer species such as Octameles sumaterana, Neolamarekia cadamba and Ficus sp. This was a start to the restorative efforts within the area and to establish an overhead nursing canopy. We are currently in the process of using the site as a tropical living collection of rare endangered plants of Sabah that occur outside of protected areas. We are currently prioritising on species that are threatened with extinction due to habitat lost which occurs outside of permanent protected areas. The biggest challenge of this project would be to reduce mortality rates of seedlings and alongside to provide food source for wildlife that is surrounded by privately owned palm oil estates.
Currently, TRCRC is in the midst of setting up their nursery. We aim for it to be set up by the end of September, hopefully in time to catch the end of the partial mass fruiting event. Twice TRCRC had to face with disruptions due to security issues faced in the Lahad Datu region. However, the show must go on, and currently we are in the midst of upgrading of our staff quarters in Merisuli.