KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 – The creation of urban forest is important to address problems of the greenhouse effect caused by carbon dioxide emissions in the urban areas, said Ahmad Azaruddin Mohd Noor of the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM).
The head of the Eco-Tourism and Urban Forest Programme, Forestry and Environment Division at the institute said conservation efforts and tree planting through the urban forest concept should always be continued and expanded, including in housing and new development areas.
“Urban forests play a role in terms of ecology and function in building a clean and comfortable environment for the well-being of humans and other life in the city.
“Apart from that, urban forests also play a role in improving the quality of the structure and design of urban areas, as well as enhancing the aesthetic value of the urban landscape,” he said in a statement today.
Ahmad Azaruddin said urban forests are green areas that accommodate vegetation, whether the existing trees or those that are systematically planted in the urban environment to contribute to a green and clean environment, healthy and cheerful living, as well as making the city a comfortable place to live in.
He said urban forests involve planning and management which includes planting suitable trees at suitable sites and does not require a specific land area because what is important is the space to plant them.
“To ensure the suitability of urban forest preparation in an area, FRIM offers advisory services, consultation and training on tree management and care to government and private sector agencies,” he said.
Ahmad Azaruddin said FRIM has the expertise, including certified arborists, to provide advisory services on tree selection and planting, methods on taking care of the trees according to good arboricultural practices, and also on tree risk assessment.
“Prior to this, many exotic trees from abroad were brought in as landscape ornamental trees or shade trees, but in an effort to bring forest trees into urban areas, various local species can also be highlighted,” he added.
He said the planting of urban forests with local species such as Meranti Temak Nipis, Merawan Siput Jantan, Jelutong, Damar minyak, Gelam, Pelawan, Geronggang, Kelat, Perupok, and Kayu Arang could promote the importance and uniqueness of forest trees in the community.
He said the characteristics of the trees to be planted should not only be selected from suitable species and their ability to grow in a less conducive urban environment but also the need for the trees to be managed well so as not to pose a risk to the public.
“Apart from that, the trees can also attract wildlife such as birds, insects, and small mammals, thus creating a forest atmosphere in the city,” he said.
Ahmad Azaruddin said the forest trees can also be used as teaching and learning materials for students and others who are interested to know about the treasures in the country’s forests.
“They get to identify the species of forest trees that can be found in the country, which is one of the countries with the highest species diversity in the world.
“Our forest trees also have their own uniqueness that needs to be appreciated and urban forests can provide opportunities for the planting of forest trees from endangered species or species that are rarely found as an ex-situ conservation effort,” he added.
He said urban forest areas are normally managed and cared by the local authorities (PBT) with the aim of preserving and improving the quality of nature as well as providing recreational facilities to urban residents in particular.
Creating urban green areas, he said, is not only the responsibility of local authorities but also the urban community.
He said the private sector is also encouraged to plant more trees in their respective premises.
“These limited resources are very important to be protected and maintained so that the benefits and role can be enjoyed by future generations,” he added.