From Concrete to Canopy: Effective Reforestation Efforts in Greater Kuala Lumpur




Reforestation is not just about planting trees; it's a mission to revitalise ecosystems, safeguard biodiversity, and improve overall ecosystem health. While the Greater Kuala Lumpur (GKL) has encountered issues such as deforestation and habitat fragmentation, these challenges have sparked proactive and substantial reforestation initiatives.

Below are pivotal policy-based developments in GKL that transform these environmental hurdles into opportunities to renew natural landscapes – locally and across the nation.



Greening Malaysia Program 2021–2025

Launched as part of the 12th Malaysia Plan 2021–2025 and spearheaded by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change, the Greening Malaysia Programme champions the National 100 Million Tree-Planting Campaign from 2021 to 2025. With an impressive 73.183 million trees planted as of September 2023, the programme exemplifies ongoing dedication to ecological restoration in GKL and nationwide. This commitment is evident as the government continually reviews the program, ensuring the trees grow and thrive in their respective habitats.


KL Climate Action Plan 2050

Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL)’s KL Climate Action Plan 2050, under its Green Adaptive City initiative, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and commits to adopting green technologies so GKL can eventually become carbon-neutral by 2050 through extensive reforestation and ecosystem-optimising commitments.


National Biodiversity Policy 2016–2025

Malaysia underscores its rich biodiversity through a national policy, reflecting its commitment as a nation of diverse ecosystems. Enhanced conservation laws, such as the Wildlife Conservation (Amendment) Act 2022 and the National Forestry (Amendment) Act 2022, fortify habitat and species protection. Furthermore, the National Biodiversity Council (MBN) champions a unified national approach, aligning Malaysia with global biodiversity restoration pledges like the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF). Not just a participant, Malaysia aims to set the standards in global biodiversity conservation.


REDD Plus

As a participant in the United Nations’ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) initiative, Malaysia launched REDD Plus in 2011. This local strategy provides financial incentives for forest conservation and enables GKL to access international reforestation support. The National REDD Plus Strategy pledges to maintain 50% forest cover in Malaysia, fulfil assigned nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement (2020-2030), and align with the National Policy on Biological Diversity and other forest policies. Since its inception, this ongoing initiative has placed GKL at the forefront of global sustainable forest management efforts.



Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL)

DBKL is big on park adoption. Case in point: the organisation’s Adopt-A-Park Programme engaged fifteen corporate agencies through CSR from 2012 to 2018, drastically aiding park management and normalising reforestation in GKL. But how effective has this initiative been? A case study involving Laman @ Eco Sky and Metropolis Park revealed that the city saved about RM24 million on maintenance while achieving a 94% park user satisfaction rate. This practical, community-driven approach to park maintenance and beautification suggests that GKL is a leading player in Malaysia’s ongoing reforestation efforts.


Malaysian Nature Society (MNS)

MNS has been a stalwart defender of Malaysia’s natural beauty for decades, focusing on flora and fauna. Through numerous tree-planting and forest regeneration projects, MNS has positively provided native Southeast Asian flora and fauna species such as the Malayan tiger, rhinoceros hornbill, and Rafflesia flower with much-needed optimised habitats to thrive. In the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020 alone, 400 mangrove trees and 400 forest trees were planted nationwide. Significant endeavours like this enhance Malaysia's natural ecosystems – and ultimately pave the way for ongoing community-based commitment to preserving biodiversity in GKL.


Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM)

FRIM is more than just a scholarly entity; it's a vanguard of applied ecological restoration work throughout Malaysia, including GKL. The non-profit organisation utilises data-driven methods to restore degraded forest lands, rehabilitating them into thriving ecosystems. Its ongoing tasks range from meticulous soil conservation to creating habitats that encourage wildlife diversity. By blending scientific rigour with environment conservation efforts, FRIM lays the groundwork for long-term ecological stability in the region.


Reef Check Malaysia

The GKL-based Reef Check Malaysia doesn't just champion coral reefs; it has taken significant strides in mangrove reforestation, recognising these coastal forests as integral buffers and marine life nurseries. While their primary efforts span places like Tioman, Mantanani, and the Mersing islands, the ripple effect of these initiatives reaches back to GKL. These distant mangrove restoration projects ensure a healthy marine biodiversity, ultimately influencing the variety and quality of marine species available in KL's food markets. These marine ecosystems' health and abundance directly affect GKL's culinary and ecological landscape. As such, Reef Check Malaysia's work underscores the importance of a holistic, interconnected marine and coastal conservation approach.


AECOM

The River of Life (RoL) Entry Point Project, initially targeting Klang River rejuvenation, expanded to encompass broader environmental restoration. In partnership with DBKL and other agencies, AECOM significantly transformed Kuala Lumpur's Klang and Gombak Rivers. Honoured with the International Federation of Landscape Architects’s Award of Excellence in 2017, AECOM enhanced a 10.7-km riverfront, merging flood controls, water quality boosts, and public spaces. This endeavour refreshed Kuala Lumpur's Heritage Quarter and spotlighted the Klang River's historical and biodiverse roots.


Achieving and maintaining reforestation efforts in GKL requires continuous collaboration among government bodies, conservation organisations, and communities. As such, these efforts position the region as an attractive destination for environmentally supportive investors passionate about environmental impact and sustainability.

Through these green initiatives, such as reforestation, GKL is set for a vibrant and sustainable future where its natural heritage will be preserved for generations. Expect a legacy of green spaces, vibrant ecosystems, and breathtaking biodiversity – features the signature of an eco-friendly metropolis.

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