CAREY ISLAND, SELANGOR, 17 February 2009 - Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd today launched its Mangrove Research Centre (MRC) which is the first centre for mangrove research in Malaysia.
Located within the company's West Estate here, MRC will be the platform for research on the mangrove ecosystem and coastal zone management. It was officially launched by Sime Darby Plantation Managing Director Dato' Azhar Abdul Hamid.
The establishment of MRC was one of the outcomes of the collaboration on biodiversity of flora and fauna between Sime Darby Research Centre and the Institute of Biological Sciences and Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences of Universiti Malaya (UM). The collaboration which started in 2003 with five environmental projects concerning the flora and fauna of Carey Island was renewed in August last year with funding of more than RM500,000 from Sime Darby Plantation.
Under the new collaboration, six new projects - four of which are related to mangrove and coastal management - have been identified to be carried out by UM researchers and scientists until 2010.
In his speech, Dato' Azhar said being the first research centre of its kind, MRC has the potential of playing a pivotal role as a resource centre on mangrove and coastal zone management for both local and international researchers.
" The outcome or findings generated from the various researches that has been or will be conducted at MRC will not only be used for our benefit as a plantation company. The entire mangrove ecosystem within Malaysia as well as in our neighbouring countries stand to benefit, especially in learning how best to manage this intricate eco-system to ensure its survival", he said.
As a corporate citizen, Dato' Azhar said it was the social responsibility of Sime Darby Plantation to contribute to the conservation of the environment that it operates in for the mutual benefit of its business and the community.
Realising the importance of mangrove ecosystem to humankind and the environment as a whole and the need to educate the community on safeguarding mangrove forest from extinction, Sime Darby Plantation, in one of its CSR efforts also launched the Mangrove Brigade today.
The Brigade members, comprising students of Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Tamil) Ladang Barat, Carey Island and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Ladang Barat, Carey Island, will be exposed to the various life forms that exist within a mangrove forest.
" By imparting knowledge to the young through activities that engage them, we hope that the future of mangrove forests will be in safe hands", added Dato' Azhar.
Brigade members will actively observe and document life forms in the mangrove forests of Carey Island, with the assistance of UM undergraduates. The students will learn about the role of mangrove forests in the eco-system, benefits of the forest and ways and means to conserve and manage the delicate eco-system.
A total of 32 students form the initial Mangrove Brigade and activities will be carried out throughout the year.