If you would like to learn more about SEARRP and the work that we do be sure to watch this excellent short interview or listen to the full podcast with our Director Dr Glen Reynolds about our programme receiving the 2020 Merdeka Award in the Environment Category. In the interview, Dr Reynolds speaks about the conservation, sustainable management and restoration work that has driven SEARRP’s work for the past 35 years, along with the aim to continue to train and mentor the next generation of scientists and conservation leaders in Malaysia. SEARRP is honoured to receive this recognition of our ongoing work and we extend our gratitude to The Merdeka Award Trust for supporting us.
SEARRP would like to extend a huge thank you to all of the participants who attended the incredibly interesting and insightful Science@SAFE 2020 conference on December 14th, 2020. It was an excellent opportunity to showcase the work coming out of the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems Project, one of the largest and perhaps most productive ecological experiments in the tropics.
SAFE was established in 2010, through a collaboration between Imperial College, SEARRP and the Sabah Foundation, with core funding from Malaysia’s Sime Darby Foundation – and this meeting marked the project’s 10th anniversary. For the past decade, hundreds of scientists have worked at SAFE from dozens of the world’s leading universities and the conference provided the opportunity for these scientists to present the impacts SAFE science has achieved – not just in terms of conservation and sustainable agriculture, but in supporting early-career scientists.
We also want to extend our gratitude to the Sime Darby Foundation for partnering with us and providing such generous, long term funding. This has not only paid for the collection of core datasets – but also the research infrastructure and team of field staff that has enabled us to attract a whole array of independently funded scientists and research projects supported by grants of millions of pounds.
For those of you who would like to re-watch the webinar or if you were unable to attend, the webinar has now been uploaded to YouTube and can be found here: https://youtu.be/VqTytgDyyig. Apologies to anyone who may have had trouble attending the event. If you have any questions for our speakers please feel free to email Olivia Daniel at Imperial College and she will forward questions on to the speakers. Thank you again for your participation in the conference and the follow-up break out groups, we were very happy with the event and hope that you enjoyed it as well.
The Science@SAFE 2020 virtual conference is today December 14th (8am-11:30am UK time) and will bring together the science and achievements of the past ten years of work at one of the world’s largest ecological experiments. The conference will look at impacts, capacity building, new technologies, carbon and how this project has improved our understanding of oil palm dominated landscapes and the resilience of Borneo’s forest ecosystem. The conference will feature talks, followed by breakout groups for open discussion around topics including hydrology, conservation and forest restoration, biodiversity, disease ecology, carbon and key knowledge and skills gaps. There is a full conference programme on the SAFE website here and attendance is free, you just need to register online via Eventbrite here: Science@SAFE 2020 Tickets, Mon, Dec 14, 2020 at 8:00 AM | Eventbrite.
The conference will be held using Zoom: the plenary talks will be presented as a Zoom Webinar and then a separate session will be used for the breakout groups. Links to both of these will be sent out from Eventbrite before the conference. You will need to download the latest version of Zoom to make sure that you can attend the webinar and participate in the breakout rooms. You should be able to use Zoom on a laptop or a smartphone.
SEARRP is thrilled to announce that we have been awarded with the prestigious Merdeka Award 2020 for our contributions to the field of Environment.
The Merdeka Award Trust (MAT) was established by PETRONAS, ExxonMobil and Shell on 27th August 2007 to recognise and reward excellent individuals and organisations whose works, and achievements have contributed to the nation’s growth and inspired
greatness in the people of Malaysia.
It is such a great honour for our programme to be recognised in this way. The Merdeka Award will be a huge source of pride for our staff, many of whom have been with us for decades. To have their work and dedication acknowledged through this distinguished award is wonderful.
Since SEARRP was established in 1985, we have been part of so many memorable moment – the formal protection of the pristine forests of our Danum Valley base in 1995; the visit to Danum of their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2012; Sir David Attenborough in 2014 and, more recently, Dame Judi Dench in 2018. But the contribution our research has made to a better understanding and greater appreciation of the rainforests of Sabah, and by extension their protection, is SEARRP’s most important accomplishment and will form its enduring legacy. Together with the incredible distinction of receiving this award, we hope that these accomplishments will raise the profile of Sabah and highlight the excellent science and conservation work being done here – which is genuinely world class.
We would like to extend our thanks to the Merdeka Awards Trust (MAT), the MAT Trustees, nominating and selection committees – and the staff of the MAT Secretariat.
For more information about Merdeka Award, please visit their website.
The Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems Project has been running for ten years with generous support from the Sime Darby Foundation. The Science@SAFE 2020 virtual conference will bring together the science and achievements of the past ten years. We will look at our impacts, capacity building, new technologies, carbon and how this project has improved our understanding of oil palm dominated landscapes and the resilience of Borneo’s forest ecosystem.
The Science@SAFE 2020 conference will be hosted online on Monday 14th December 2020 at 8am-12pm UK time/4pm-8pm Malaysian time.
All are welcome to attend this free event. More details to follow. But if you are interested to join, book your space on Eventbrite here.
On October 19th, 2020 Melissa Payne, SEARRP’s Assistant Director of Policy, joined a virtual meeting on Sharing Regional Experiences on ‘Other Effective Conservation Measures’ (OECMs) to achieve Aichi Biodiversity Target 11. This meeting was a part of the Global Partnership on Target 11, and was hosted by UNDP India, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and the National Biodiversity Authority, Government of India; and the CBD Secretariat. The objective of the meeting was to discuss the importance of identifying, mapping and reporting OECMs in a bid to accelerate the achievement of Target 11 by the end of 2020. It also used the opportunity to share experiences on the work being undertaken on identifying OECMs in different countries and regions.
Melissa Payne presented on the OECM project that SEARRP is currently implementing to give perspective of how OECMs might work in the Malaysian context. This project is a 2 year initiative, supported by GEF Small Grants Programme, that collaborates with local partners to explore the potential of an OECM approach in achieving Malaysia’s commitments to Target 6 of the National Policy on Biological Diversity which corresponds to the internationally accepted to Aichi Target 11. Target 6 is a Malaysian National Policy on Biological Diversity that aims by 2025 for at least 20% of terrestrial areas and inland waters, and 10% of coastal and marine areas are conserved through a representative system of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. The project’s primary focus is to determine if this policy and the institutional pathways that support it, are robust enough to contribute to the establishment and effectiveness of OECMs in Malaysia. This gives a special opportunity to enable inclusion of partners, strengthen conservation outside of protected areas, and improve landscape connectivity.
SEARRP wants to extend a big thank you for including us in this interesting and informative meeting. It was incredibly helpful to hear what other countries in South Asia are doing in order to implement OECM into their conservation programmes.
For more information on this exciting project visit our website here.
Recently, Melissa Payne, SEARRPs Assistant Director of Policy, joined a virtual conference with 66 members of the Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) and Protected Areas (PA) staff to discuss ongoing work with Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs). This meeting was the 6th Technical Workshop with APAP, and the aim was to help build Members capacities in working with OECMs. Participants agreed that using OECMs as a framework could lead to a greater number of areas outside of protected areas being identified as important to broader conservation networks. It was also proposed that the framework could be a useful means to engage with indigenous peoples, local communities and the private sector, either to recognise their ongoing conservation contributions or to help enhance local or sectoral practices.
Currently Melissa is leading an OECM project in Malaysia that is interested in analysing the impact of this novel approach and asses its ability to identify, recognise and report on OECMs in Malaysia. This is an exciting project that is supported by the GEF Small Grant programme, with the overarching goal of determining the policy and institutional pathways needed for Malaysia’s OECMs to contribute towards area-based, in-situ biodiversity conservation. The project commenced in late 2019 with a series of stakeholder consultations, followed by a call for case studies and follow up inception workshops. To date, the project has been met with a lot of interest and Melissa is looking forward to the onward progress. To learn more about this project visit our website here.
Ecosystem Services Assessment in the Central Forest Spine Introduction Workshop: Enabling key actors to identify & assess the natural capital & conservation value through the use of TESSA. The objective of the workshop is to engage with appointed desk officers from State Forestry Departments to introduce the project and components of the capacity building programme. The desk officers will be the focal people in each of the 8 States in the CFS. A huge thank you to Dato’ Hj. Zahari B. Ibrahim, the Deputy Director General for Forestry Department Peninsular Malayisia, for officiating the workshop.
In on ongoing effort to ensure the health and safety of Malaysian citizens, the Sabah Government has instituted a Targeted Lockdown in the cities of Tawau, Semporna, Kunak and Lahad Datu that is currently scheduled to last until October 12th, 2020. The lockdown limits travel in and out of these cities and is supported by road blocks and police checks. SEARRP has been advised that at this time Danum Valley Field Centre and Maliau Basin Field Centre are closed. We will continue to post information pertaining to the lockdown and changing rules and regulations, or if you have any questions please feel free to contact us here.
I’m writing to outline some important staff changes within SEARRP.
Firstly, Dr Agnes Agama will be stepping down as Co-Director of SEARRP, with effect from the 11th September, to take-up a regional position with WWF International. I would like to take this opportunity to gratefully acknowledge the seminal contribution which Agnes has made to SEARRP – particularly in terms of our strategic direction, approaches to safeguarding, governance and diversity and, crucially, the impact our science has had with respect to conservation policy and best practice in Sabah and the wider region. Our Trustees, directors and staff join me in wishing Agnes every possible success and happiness with this new phase of her career.
As an organisation, I’m determined that the successes we have achieved together are embedded and sustained. To this end, I am very pleased that Agnes has agreed to transition to an advisory role with SEARRP, on an honorary basis, including as a non-executive Board member of our Malaysian operation.
However, this is a major change within our management team and it is important that, as far as possible, continuity is maintained – particularly in terms of our relationships with key collaborators and partner organisations. I am therefore delighted to announce that we have promoted Melissa Payne, currently our Science Impacts Manager, to the position of Assistant Director for Policy. Having worked together closely over recent years, Melissa will assume many of Agnes’s current responsibilities including the management of a suite of major projects – the largest of these being a recently launched capacity building and ecosystem services assessment initiative in the Central Forest Spine of Peninsular Malaysia. Since joining us in 2018, Melissa has brought tremendous vitality, enthusiasm and a fresh perspective to SEARRP – qualities which both Agnes and I are confident that she will bring, in even greater measure, to this new leadership role.
Again, and on behalf of SEARRP, I’d like to congratulate both Agnes and Melissa on their new appointments – and extend my thanks for your support through this transitionary period.
Dr Glen Reynolds
Director – SEARRP