With the support from Yayasan Hasanah and in collaboration with the Federal Department of Peninsular Malaysia (FDPM) and State Forestry Departments, SEARRP has started our first project in Peninsular Malaysia: Ecosystem Services in the Central Forest Spine (CFS) – Enabling Key Actors to Identify and Assess Natural Capital and Conservation Value Through the Use of TESSA.
This new project is based in one of the largest forest landscapes in Malaysia called the Central Forest Spine (CFS). The CFS is home to thousands of animal and plants species and provides vital ecosystem services for the surrounding communities. Despite the importance of this landscape, the area faces threats due to high demand of natural resources and the rapid urbanisation of the area. This three year project, which commenced in June 2020, aims to strengthen the conservation and restoration of this essential forest by training key stakeholders to identify and assess ecosystem services using a Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment (TESSA). TESSA provides accessible guidance on low-cost methods for how to evaluate the benefits people receive from nature at particular sites in order to generate information that can be used to influence environmental decision making, and enable key actors to identify and assess natural capital and conservation value of forests.
Despite all the uncertainties and challenges presented by Covid-19, we successfully completed Part 1 of our TESSA Training Programme virtually for our budding Malaysian TESSA Project Leaders who are from the State and Federal Forestry Departments, local NGOs and partners from universities.
The 1.5 day online training covered the basic concepts of ecosystem services and TESSA, gave participants the opportunity to evaluate key ecosystem services and identify the challenges faced in their protected areas within the Central Forest Spine.
It was a great session with an exchange of ideas and increased knowledge of the value of forest conservation in Malaysia with helpful input from our expert trainer Dr Rosie Trevelyan from the Tropical Biology Association, UK.