In conjunction with World Environment Day, Yayasan PETRONAS provides a glimpse of why it lends it weight to biodiversity conservation and some key efforts it has taken in supporting this cause.
The word biodiversity often conjures up images of faraway places, deep in the jungles, where animals and plants live together in a wonderfully healthy eco-system. However, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), human beings depend on biodiversity on a daily basis, even though it is not always obvious or noticeable. Our health and general well-being rely on goods and services such as fresh water, food, medicine and fuel sources, derived from biodiversity which should be sustainably managed.
It can be said that biodiversity is the foundation of human health and is a requisite for a productive life. Biodiversity contributes to both traditional and modern medicines, it contributes to the economic development of a country as well as regulates the weather, floods and disease control. Biodiversity is also responsible for recreational benefits, the aesthetic enrichment we get when interacting with nature along with spiritual enrichment. Thus, biodiversity not only features prominently in our daily lives, but is also important in both human-managed and natural ecosystems. Decisions we make about our environment affects biodiversity and it is imperative to adopt a sustainable approach as we continue to progress and develop.
Malaysia: A Haven for Biodiversity
Although Malaysia occupies only 0.2% of the world’s land mass, our diverse flora and fauna makes it one of the richest countries in terms of biodiversity. We are only second to Indonesia and Malaysia has been recognised as one of the twelve mega-diversity countries in the world. Currently, it is estimated that Malaysia is home to over 170,000 species of flora and fauna; with a lot more just waiting to be discovered.
Our tropical rainforests, which have been in existence for more than 130 million years, are habitats to a considerable amount of diversity. However, extinction has reared its ugly head and several species of plants and animals are lost to us forever. Thus, it is important for action to be taken and that these actions are varied, including building awareness on the values of biodiversity, changes in economic incentives by the public and private sector and even enforcing rules and regulations to keep the ecosystem alive.
As a leading oil and gas producer, PETRONAS recognises its role to operate in a sustainable manner, and in doing so, has the responsibility and opportunity to help conserve the environment.
Yayasan PETRONAS – For Biodiversity, For Life
Through its corporate social responsibility arm, Yayasan PETRONAS, the company aims to deliver sustainable impact through the improvement of quality of life along with positive socio-economic changes through Education, Community Well-being and Development and the Environment.
As part of the effort, Yayasan PETRONAS works with many partners to ensure the biodiversity of our rainforests, oceans and mangroves are preserved. These are some of the initiatives it has taken:
Rainforest Conservation: Imbak Canyon Conservation Area & Imbak Canyon Studies Centre
Located in the midst of lush greenery, the Imbak Canyon Studies Centre (ICSC) was officially launched in March 2019, marking a historic milestone for the Imbak Canyon Conservation Area (ICCA), a pristine rainforest in the heart of Sabah. The 27-hectare ICSC, funded by PETRONAS under the Yayasan Sabah Group-PETRONAS Imbak Canyon Conservation Partnership, features facilities for research, education, training and nature recreation.
By offering an environment research grant to encourage research related to biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and renewable and clean energy at ICSC, Yayasan PETRONAS looks to building the capabilities of local researchers. Yayasan PETRONAS is confident that the partnership with Yayasan Sabah Group will yield benefits not only in conservation, but also opens up opportunities for research in pharmaceutical, novelty chemicals and application of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK).
Mangroves are essential for coastal protection, and function as habitats for endangered species and a breeding and nursing ground for commercially valuable fishes. Through its long-term partnership with Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) and the local government, Yayasan PETRONAS has established the ecoCare Environmental Education Centre. With the support of volunteers, approximately 12,000 mangrove trees have been planted in Sungai Kerteh, Terengganu, covering an area of 14,000 square metres. The ecoCare programme also features educational activities for school children, local community and PETRONAS staff.
Yayasan PETRONAS through a PETRONAS subsidiary, Malaysia LNG, has ventured into the conservation and regeneration of marine biodiversity. Under the Biodiversity, Environmental and Conservation (BEACON) project, thousands of Reef BallsTM have been deployed in Similajau National Park, Bintulu, Sarawak. These Reef BallsTM help regenerate and rehabilitate corals in degraded areas. As a result, sea turtles that have returned to the Similajau Beach to lay their eggs after seven years of absence.
Yayasan PETRONAS is committed towards biodiversity conservation through many programmes and activities across land, coastal and marine ecosystems from tropical rainforests to coral reefs. These initiatives also improve the well-being of surrounding communities and ensure that future generations are able to enjoy and understand the importance of nature as well as be part of the solution towards conservation.