Natural attraction
Azlan Othman

HIS Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, believes that Brunei Darussalam will one day become a centre of research and reference for tropical plants and wildlife.

Delivering a sabda at the opening ceremony of the Heart of Borneo Seminar on the Sungai Ingei Faunal Biodiversity Survey yesterday, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, who is the Royal Patron of the National Council of the Heart of Borneo (HoB), said Brunei Darussalam is blessed with pristine forest reserves and vast natural resources.

These are priceless in the continuation of life in every creature. It is a valuable heritage and portrays a special image of the country.

Pristine forests not only offer an attraction to tourists but also to scientists, researchers and nature lovers, His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah said.

Also present at yesterday’s opening ceremony was His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik.

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah called for the continuation of efforts initiated by the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam through the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources to ensure that forest reserves are preserved and inherited by the future generation.

The move is strengthened by Brunei’s commitment to allocate 58 per cent of the country’s total area for the HoB initiative. It is a bold and challenging commitment for this country, although the area covers only 1.6 per cent of the total area of HoB, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah said.

“Such commitment is more meaningful if in-depth research through the implementation of HoB projects could be implemented. These include research and study on the habitat, ecology and threats towards the forest. Hence, we could prevent the extinction of wildlife, especially threatened exotic animals.

“I am pleased to note that one of the core initiatives of HoB is the Sungai Ingei Faunal Biodiversity Survey done by Universiti Brunei Darussalam with the participation of Standard Chartered Bank as its sponsoring partner.

“The long-term survey covers a study on the number and types of wildlife, the breeding process, life and behaviour of the species and their link to the environment. This will certainly open an avenue for the production of a strategic management plan that is specific and inclusive for the Sungai Ingei area.

“Fauna protection and conservation are equally crucial to flora or plants. Floral environment plays a crucial role in preserving the natural habitat to balance the eco-system of the environment.

“Going unnoticed, wildlife ecology in the forest also plays a role in stabilising and balancing the forest ecology, which includes assisting in the pollination and cultivation of plants to ensure the continuity of growth cycle of floral species that also act to absorb water, balance the composition of carbon in the air as well as the source of food for fauna species and human beings. If one of the species is affected, it would certainly give a negative impact to the forest ecology’s stability and the environment as a whole.

“I would like to express my appreciation to HoB partners who had given valuable support and assistance like Brunei Shell Petroleum Sdn Bhd, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Panaga Natural History Society, Brunei Nature Society and other organisations involved. I hope such assistance and cooperation would continue.”

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah hoped that other organisations could follow their noble footsteps in environmental preservation.

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah consented to launch a book on the outcome of the Sungai Ingei Faunal Biodiversity Survey. - Borneo Bulletin (10 February 2013)