1) Collaborative Effort
The peat swamp forest restoration project would not be successful without the involvement and commitment of different governmental and non-governmental bodies. Each organisation has its part to play when working in synergy to complete a common task. Sharing perspectives, brainstorming and proposing solutions, as well as, contributing time and effort into a project are some of the essential steps to achieve a common goal i.e. rehabilitating a degraded peat swamp forest.
In the Badas Tree Planting 2021 project, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) are the project leads, working closely to coordinate the rehabilitation project and overseeing its scientific aspects. The project is sponsored by Brunei Shell Petroleum Co Sdn Bhd (BSP), and supported by our main stakeholders, The Forestry Department of Brunei Darussalam, Wetlands International (WI), and Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
Since forests serve as important natural and economic resources for the people such as timber and food products, the members of the public are also considered as our crucial stakeholder in the peat swamp forest rehabilitation effort. Any forest rehabilitation or restoration project will require a lot of manpower and labour. It would be ideal to involve people from different age groups to join the effort as crucial knowledge such as climate change and forest fire could be imparted to them effectively especially when they are on the site experiencing and understanding the differences between a pristine and a degraded peat swamp forest. Hence, the volunteers could help further spread the knowledge concerning these environmental issues to their families and friends.
2) Pilot Projects
Before organising a mass planting event like Badas Tree Planting 2021, it is recommended to conduct trial plantings in order to understand the best silviculture method and lowest maintenance practice to increase the survivability of the tree species that will be planted. Trial Planting 1.0, which involved 16 Shorea albida saplings, was organised on 12th May 2018. The purpose was to investigate if the root pruning and loosening treatments, as well as, the use of commonly used garden fertilisers would yield better growth and survivorship for the saplings. The outcome was encouraging as it showed that Shorea albida saplings do not require any root treatments and additional fertiliser to survive and grow in a degraded peat swamp forest. Furthermore, the Trial Planting 1.0 has demonstrated that Shorea albida is a sun-loving species and it would not thrive well in shaded environment. Following that, Trial Planting 2.0, which involved 22 Shorea albida saplings, was conducted on 12th March 2020 to investigate if stem pruning treatments and weeding of the area surrounding the saplings will increase the saplings’ survivorship. After two months, it was observed that pruning the saplings could likely increase the survivorship and the weeding treatment did not make any difference to the saplings’ survivorship. Unfortunately, majority of the saplings started to die after nearly nine months. Despite that, we take it as a learning point and use the knowledge gained to improve the methods to achieve a better survivorship for future mass tree planting projects.
3) Citizen Science Tree Planting Programme
After conducting the pilot projects to understand more about the tree species’ survivorship on degraded peat swamp forest, it is then safe to proceed to the next big step – Badas Tree Planting 2021. The participation of volunteers is key in a citizen science project. In essence, the volunteers will get to experience being silviculturists or forest scientists by helping to plant the trees and collecting measurement data, as well as, keeping track of the health status of the planted trees. At the same time, public awareness on current environmental issues such as climate change and recurring forest fires could be reached out to the volunteers during the mass Badas Tree Planting 2021.
Badas Tree Planting Team
The organising team comprises of:
Project leads: Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD)
Main Sponsor: Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP)
Main collaborators: Brunei’s Forestry Department (FD), Wetlands International (WI), and Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
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