Wanted - 1,000 volunteer forest guardians
Published: Fri, 02 Mar 2012
SUBANG JAYA: Transparency International – Malaysia (TI-M) aims to enlist 1,000 committed volunteers this year to help monitor the forests in the country.
“Anybody can join our Forest Watch Project and become a forest ranger,” said TI-M Forest Governance Integrity Programme project manager Victor Soosai at a conference at Grand Dorsett Hotel last Thursday.
He said members of the public can sign up to be a volunteer via the Forest Watch Project website (www.timalaysia-forestwatch.org.my).
Launched on Feb 1, the website enables the public to report illegal deforestation using Google Earth’s real-time satellite imagery and aerial photography.
Soosai said the volunteers would be classified based on their degree of commitment and participation.
He added that TI-M would roll out more public engagement programmes this year to publicise the initiative and train citizens to become the “eyes and ears” of Malaysia’s forests.
He said TI-M targets to process 500 cases this year.
TI-M’s monitoring and advisory team would review the complaints submitted via the website before passing the information to the relevant government agencies for action.
Public agencies taking part in the project include, among others, Peninsular Malaysia Department of Wildlife and National Parks and the Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia.
The three-year-long Forest Watch Project is part of TI-M’s Forest Governance Integrity Programme (FGI).
The FGI has also been implemented in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, China and the Solomon Islands by Transparency International to strengthen forest management in these countries.