UKM Students Planted Gaharu Saplings
By Shahfizal Musa
Pix Raai Osman
BANGI, 28 Feb 2014 – The Environment and Development Institute (LESTARI) of The National University of Malaysia (UKM) has partnered with Nur Eco Resort in Ulu Yam and the Selangor Forestry Department to plant the highly sought after gaharu (agarwood) trees.
Reputed to be the most expansive tree in the world it is an essential ingredient in every perfume. A gaharu tree can fetch up to RM30,000 once it matures.
More than 100 gaharu trees were planted by about 100 UKM students who took part in the Ekorelawan Eco-Synergy programmme in Nur Eco Resort in Ulu Yam Selangor last sunday (Feb 23).
The programme is a smart partnership between the Selangor Forestry Department which provided the saplings, Nur Eco Resort which provided the site to plant the trees and UKM which provided the knowhow and manpower. The students were mostly from the Ibu Zain Residential College here.
The saplings will mature between 5 to 10 years for harvesting.
Dato’ Shaharuddin Mohamad Ismail, a fellow with LESTARI who led the programme at the Nur Eco Resort said the trees normally grow wild in the jungle but are often uprooted because of their value.
“We choose to grow gaharu because it offers incentive for the public to plant and if you know you can grow it, the probability of stealing it from the jungle would be reduced.”
Shaharuddin said the uniqueness of the programme is in the content. The volunteers don’t just participate to help the environment but the ultimate objective is to turn them into eco volunteers which he coined as ‘ekorelawan’, that is activists for the environment who can spread the knowledge that they had gained in the programme through their network of friends and families.
The highlight of the programme was the Rain Forest Discovery Journey. It is a walk in the nearby jungle and learning about the trees.
It was not like other jungle walks where participants are taken on a tour to learn the scientific names of trees, plants and bushes as at the end of the discovery journey, they would have gained enough knowledge to enable them to know how to make a decent income with plants.
Apart from growing the gaharu tree in their back yards, the participants will also know how to make a bamboo sprout grow to at least triple the normal size.
All that needs to be done is to bury the bamboo sprout into the soil. This will induce the bamboo sprout to grow taller in trying to reach sunlight. The bamboo plant can reach a height of a three storey building.
Being an Ekorelawan is also about learning useful knowledge, that can be put to good use thereby creating a generation that is more responsible towards the environment.
Chairman of Era Mewah Sdn Bhd, the owner of Nur Eco Resort, Dato’ Mohamad Hassan Mukhtar Mohd Ali attended the event.