TRAKS Of Malaysia - Annual General Meeting Minutes

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Minutes of TRAKS Annual General Meeting

Held on Sunday 20th July 2014 at Pusat Komuniti TTDI, Kuala Lumpur, the Chairman has highlighted the various achievements of the association, besides the regular Traks Trail Maintenace Days organized in Bukit Kiara and KDCF:

The new committee members are:

  • Julian Gomez - President
  • Rizal Hon - Vice President
  • Yong Foo Chuen - Secretary
  • Riza Shaharudin - Treasurer
  • Rebecca Thomason - Assistant Secretary
  • Johari Azizee (Committee Member) and Scott Roberts - nah, not Scott he’s too busy - but Stanley Ng (Committee Member)

A huge thanks for the awesome support that all of you, anonymously or collectively have been providing to TRAKS and, more importantly to maintain the trails and achieve what Bukit Kiara is today: the finest MTB trail network in Malaysia!

Download TRAKS AGM Minutes (2014).

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BFM Radio Interview - Traks Of Malaysia and KDCF

Kota Damansara Forest Reserve sits in the middle of a sprawling urban landscape in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Threatened by development a few years ago, the forest was gazetted through efforts of environmental groups and local residents.

On the contrary, Bukit Kiara Forest, the gem of Kuala Lumpur has not been gazetted yet despite promises done by the government in 2007 and is encroached by developers.

BFM Radio 89.9 speak to Johari Azizee, Justine Vaz, Henry Goh, from the groups to learn the current status of the forest and how locals are using the green space.

The podcast on BFM Radio 89.9

TRAKS Annual General Meeting: Join Us & Be Awesome

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Join Us & Be Awesome

TRAKS members have been behind the construction and maintenance of 35km+ of MTB and hiking trails in Bukit Kiara and Kota Damansara Community Forest. Look at what they achieved over the years, simply amazing!

Today, TRAKS is fighting to save this network of pristine jungle trails from developers. Despite being gazetted by the government since 2007, Bukit Kiara is under heavy threat:

Liking On Facebook Is Not Enough

We need you.

As members, committee members, volunteers - join us by becoming a member and let us raise our concern together.

Join TRAKS Annual General Meeting

Join the committee, stand up and do your bit.

  • Date: 20 July 2014
  • Time: 01.00pm
  • Venue: Pusat Komuniti Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Lorong Burhanuddin Helmi 8, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur - Google Map: 3.148337,101.622107

#SaveBukitKiara

Mountain Bikers Are Not Wheeled Locusts, They Bring Money To Towns That Desperately Need It

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Are you sick of seeing awesome shots of people riding awesome trails in, oi, awesome British Columbia? Yeah, well, you have to hand it to the province, they’ve got the trails, but more than that–they have land managers who actually embrace mountain biking. The rest of the world is woefully behind on that score–particularly the United States. Photo by Margus Riga, courtesy of BC Bike Race

By Vernon Felton

I’m not saying that British Columbia is a magical land full of unicorns that ride rainbows of sheer awesomeness dipped in maple syrup, but when it comes to access to mountain biking trails, the province to the north starts looking like something out of a fairy tale.

I know, I know … B.C. is overhyped. You’re over the North Shore. And Whistler. And Pemberton. And Rossland. And Squamish. And the Sunshine Coast. And Kamloops. And Nelson. And … wait, where was I going with this? Oh, yeah, the place is overhyped, right?

Wrong.

Look, I get that riders in the lower 48 have spent the last 20 years being inundated with pictures and videos of all the awesomeness north of the border and that it’s gotten more than a little annoying, but seriously, there’s a reason editors and filmmakers keep churning out all that B.C. content—the place is lousy with great trails. The number of towns in British Columbia that are home to hundreds of miles of absolutely brilliant trails is simply staggering. The place has no equal on earth. Seriously.

But it could. B.C. could have plenty of rivals.

Why doesn’t it? That’s the real question.

Read More

Malaysian Citizens Want Government To Spend More To Save Native Rainforests

Rainforest in Malaysian Borneo. Photos by Rhett A. Butler.

As developing countries reach upper middle income (UMI) status, their populations are willing to pay increasing amounts toward tropical forest conservation, yet government spending on these programs lags far behind, concludes Jeffrey Vincent of Duke University and colleagues in a study available today in the PNAS Online Early Edition.

UMI countries contain some four-fifths of remaining tropical primary forest, and nearly half of the threatened endemic species found in tropical countries. Primary forests—those unaffected by humans—are disappearing three times faster than forests globally. However, international conventions and treaties have largely failed to meet their target goals in reducing deforestation, often due in part to a shortage of domestic funding.

Maliau Falls in Sabah, Malaysia

The authors conducted a meta-analysis of UMI countries, examining how several conservation indicators changed with an increase in gross national income. Public prioritizing of environmental issues, donations to domestic NGOs, government co-financing of environmental protection projects, and percent land and forest areas protected for conservation all increased with rising income. However, “the indicators of public opinion and NGO donations were more responsive to increases than the indicators of government action,” the authors write.

To better understand public perceptions of environmental protection, and gauge their “willingness to pay” (WTP) for conservation in UMI countries, the authors presented 1,261 households in Malaysia with a choice survey concerning Belum-Temengor, a high conservation value area in the north end of the country. Belum-Temengor is home to the Asian elephant, Malayan tiger, and Sumatran rhinoceros, among others, and is a priority of Malaysia’s leading environmental NGOs. The area is controlled by the state government which is, the authors note, “reluctant to protect more completely and more permanently against logging due to a concern over lost revenue and jobs.”

Malayan tiger

The results of the survey found that Malaysia’s WTP far exceeded current government spending on conservation. “Expressed per hectare,” the authors write, “annual societal WTP to protect Belum-Temengor, US$437, is much larger than the annual operating budgets of the two largest existing protected areas in Peninsular Malaysia, US$12.80 at Endau-Rompin and only US$0.98 at Taman Negara.” Further, WTP increases steadily with income for houses earning above a certain monthly threshold.

Considering the international study, and the results of the Malaysia survey, the authors suggest several factors that may be affecting governments’ failure to respond in pace with public sentiment. One issue may be, “imperfect information,” or the governments’ may be unaware of what their public values. For example, the Malaysian survey found that while the local government is reluctant to close Belum-Temengor to illegal logging for fear of economic loss, the public weighs the value of conservation for society as a whole above the economic security of a minority of loggers.

According to data presented in Global Forest Watch, Malaysia’s rate of forest loss on a percentage basis was the highest of major forest countries between 2001-2012. The background image shows deforestation alerts from Global Forest Watch’s FORMA system, the chart shows annual gross forest loss in Malaysia. Data from Hansen et al 2013.

Another issue compounding the disconnect between societal values and government spending may be that the political process limits the translation of public sentiment into governmental action. The authors point to previous studies which have concluded that, “countries that are less democratic tend to protect less land.”

On the other hand, the disparity between the societal WTP and government spending may not be entirely a domestic issue. As countries develop, there tends to be a decrease in external aid, which can result in a funding gap.

“Controlling for other factors,” the authors write, “developing countries receive less biodiversity aid as per capita national income rises.” In order to compensate for this gap, they suggest that external aid to UMI countries should focus more on improved governance.

Kinabatangan River in Malaysia

Rather than funding projects outright, the authors suggest, the international community should fund programs that help governments obtain better information on public preferences, support NGOs, and encourage governments to invest in their own conservation future. Further, foreign money paid directly to UMI countries for conservation, such as REDD carbon payments, would be most effective if they were tied to a commitment of expenditure by the country itself.

Vincent, Jeffrey R., et. al. Tropical Countries May Be Willing to Pay More to Protect Their Forests. PNAS, June 2014. doi:10.1073/pnas.1312246111.