Biodiversity is at the heart of FGV’s operations as some of the Group’s plantations are located within close proximity of forest reserves or conservation areas that are natural habitats of endangered, rare and threatened species. Operating sustainably means living in harmony with natural resources and biodiversity. FGV has put in place a policy that ensures its development area does not encroach into High Conservation Value (HCV) areas and to avoid peat land. The group has pledged to undertake conservation initiatives for the continuous protection of the natural ecosystem and its services.
Many of our oil palm plantations are in the fringes of natural forest reserves that are home to endangered, rare and threatened species. Therefore, as part of our sustainability commitment, our group has pledged not to undertake any new development in areas that are environmentally sensitive or under protection, such as primary forests, wildlife reserves, peat lands, or land containing any HCV. We are making continuous efforts to preserve the pristine environment of these areas whilst reducing the impact on biodiversity as much as possible.
By using practical approaches to protecting the flora and fauna, we engage in periodical awareness programmes organised in collaboration with governmental agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
One of our landmark sustainability initiatives is the Sun Bear Conservation programme (SBCP). The SBCP is funded by FGV Holdings Bhd (FGV), and partnered with the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (PERHILITAN) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).
SBCP involves in the rescue, rehabilitation and release of the injured/orphaned/confiscated Sun Bears back into the wild. One of the expected outcome of this programme is the management plan for Malayan Sun Bears in Peninsular Malaysia and guidelines for the rehabilitation of sun bears.
The SBCP is also preparing a training module for primary and secondary schools to build awareness on the importance of sun bear conservation through organised nature camps. The SBCP has successfully rehabilitated and released 17 sun bears back into the wild since its establishment in 2015.
The Malayan Sun Bear may be the smallest of the bear species found around the world, but they are not short of protectors, thanks to the Citizen Action Groups (CAG) communities now set up in five regions around Malaysia. They also calls themselves as the Sahabat Beruang Matahari (Friends of the Sun Bears). The CAG network of about 200 members has been set up.in areas of importance to wildlife /forest conservation. This is to foster a community, sympathetic to issues surrounding conservation of the sun bear and other threatened wildlife species in areas important regard to forest conservation. This CAGs are trained to identify environmental issues of concern within a stipulated location and the appropriate action to be taken with the help of local regulatory agencies. The CAG members have undergone basic training on HCV elements of interest in the region, map reading, GPS usage and protocols on boundary patrols.
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Rafflesia is world famous as being the largest flower known on earth and one of the most prominent icons for conservation efforts. Today, Rafflesia microhabitat is at risk due to destruction of tropical rainforest and natural ecosystem. There are at least 10 species of Rafflesia in the wild but two of them (i.e. R.Azlanii and R.Cantleyi) are endemic in Peninsular Malaysia, i.e they cannot be found in any part of the world. Perak is the only state in Peninsular Malaysia that is home to three species (including the two endemic species and R.Kernii) and one of the significant spot is in Gerik, a small town near many FGV/FELDA plantations. Therefore, it is essential for FGV to play an important role to maintain or enhance the unique ecosystem to ensure their continued presence.
The Rafflesia Conservation and Interpretive Centre (RCIC) is a joint collaboration between GV Holding (FGV) with Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM).The first in Peninsular Malaysia, RCIC will be a purpose-built facility located in Gerik, Perak on a 223 Ha plot of land for research and conservation of the Rafflesia species. It is scheduled to be completed in 2018.
This is the first collaboration project between the private sector and government agencies in Peninsular Malaysia dedicated to Rafflesia research and conservation. The initiative to establish RCIC started in 2013 following the discovery of a Rafflesia population at Felda Bersia Timur in the nearby Sungai Lebey area, Gerik, Perak. The RCIC is expected to serve as a ‘one-stop centre’ for research, education and conservation of the endangered species of Rafflesia. Perak is the only state where three (3) Rafflesia species is native to – Rafflesia Azlanii, R. Cantleyi and R. Kerrii.
Once completed, RCIC will also serve as a venue for international symposiums, workshops, colloquiums, environmental awareness programmes for both public and the scientific fraternity.
The Kinabatangan area is one of the mega-biodiverse areas in the world, but at least 300 Bornean elephants here are at risk due to the limitation of suitable habitat and human-elephant conflict.
Realising this, FGV have strengthened our involvement in conservation programmes at the Kinabatangan, Sabah with five (5) years commitment with BCT and SWD in the Mega Biodiversity Corridor programme.
The objective of the programme is to re-establish a network of forest corridors that will enable safe migration of wildlife between key forest habitats, avoid human-wildlife conflict and protect wildlife habitat, especially for the Bornean elephants and orang-utans along Kg. Batu Putih to Kg. Bilit, the hotspot area along the Kinabatangan Mega Biodiversity Corridor. As to date, we have re-established the riparian reserves by alienating a minimum distance of 50 meters from our estates to the river bank and planted with saplings of indigenous timber tree species, bought from nurseries raised by local communities. This exercise involves voluntarily abrogating approximately 20 ha of productive and plantable land for the re-establishment of riparian reserves. This 20 Ha will now be part of the existing 280 Ha of riparian reserve which we are presently managing as a wildlife corridor.
In addition to that, we are also engaged in REDD+ programme, Kinabatangan Component project that aims to tackle climate change through sustainable forest management and community development.
As the project will focus more on capacity building on developing sustainable eco-tourism, sustainable farming practices, forest restoration and empowering communities to create sustainable change or alternative livelihood, it will include a series of comprehensive capacity training programmes for the local communities in the area.
The tree planting programme under FGV-BCT could provide the relevant capacity building especially in fostering innovation and business skills.
Currently, we are working with BCT and other partners to develop a credible guideline to enable the local communities to estimate carbon assessment in several forest types and benefit from carbon trading schemes. These projects will also provide a strategy to identify alternative livelihood for at least 30 families of the local community, while ensuring the protection and conservation of the mega biodiversity corridor in Kinabatangan.
With these projects, we hope the local communities, flora and fauna (specifically elephant and orang-utan) within the FGV landscape, the Tourism Industry of Sabah at a wider scale and the earth as a global ecosystem will benefit from this initiative. Apart from these projects, we are also looking for opportunities to work with as many Stakeholders possible as the greatest impact in conservation can only be possible with bigger landscape programmes.