The Ramsar Regional Center – East Asia supported the Asian Wetland Management Forum

18/04/2011

From the 17-19 of March 2011, the Ramsar Regional Center – East Asia (RRC-EA-Honorary Director Dr Gea Jae Joo), in conjunction with the Ramsar Center Japan (RCJ), Wetlands International China (WI China), Sabah Forestry Department (SFD) and Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) supported the Asian Wetland Management Forum which was held at the Rainforest Development Center in Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia. This forum provided locals with the chance to meet and exchange information regarding wetland management in East and Southeast Asia. Fifty-eight individuals from the region (Japan, Malaysia, China, Bangladesh, and Thailand) attended the meeting, which was held in conjunction with the Asian Wetland School programme in Sandakan.

On the morning of the workshop, the international attendees along with representatives from the Rainforest Development Center visited the mangrove forest at the mouth of the Kinabatangan River and observed locals making crab pots from bamboo and net, along with other traditional practices like cooking traditional foods. Maurice Lineman from the RRC-EA opened the workshop with an introduction of the RRC-EA. The workshop was divided into two sections, international and local. 

The international component had presentations from Mr. Chen Kelin from WI China (Understanding the Importance of wetland ecosystem services in a changing climate - Ruoergai Peatlands conservation and restoration), Mr. Sanowar Hossain from Bangladesh POUSH (Management of Freshwater Wetlands of Bangladesh), Mr. Pratheep Mekatitatm from WI Thailand (Bioright approach in southern Thailand Coastal regions - Ban Don Bay), and Mr. Tatsuya Togari from Fujimae Tidal flats in Japan along with Ms. Reiko Nakamura from RCJ. 

The second part of the workshop had presentations from Mr. Christopher Matunjau of the SFD (Conservation of Klias Peatswamp Forest, Sabah), Ms. Denise Cheah who was there to represent WI Malaysia (The Management of Wetlands in Malaysia), Mr. Hj Hussin Tukiman from SFD (Sabah Forestry Department Steps in Managing Sabah Ramsar Sites), Mr. Motohiro Hasegawa from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency – Malaysia Office (Ramsar management plan for the Lower Kinabatangan-Segama Wetlands). Other presentations included those by Mr. Joseph Tangah from SFD and Mr. Mohd Sofian from the SWD. 

The following day the groups went on a tour of the Kinabatangan River near the site and went to the Oxbow lake at the Danau Girang Field Center (DGFC) on the Kinabatangan River. The meeting closed with the Japanese ambassador attending the closing luncheon. At the DGFC, we looked at the oxbow lake adjacent to the research center and observed the mangrove forests along the river. The sites were underwater along the river and at the oxbow lake, due to recent inundation from heavy rainfall.

The RRC-EA will continue to host events within the region enabling the local management staff to present and exchange information on Wetland Management. As well, the presentation files will be available for download from the Ramsar Regional Center – East Asia homepage, or if you desire you can contact Maurice Lineman (mauricelineman@gmail.com) to obtain them.

Report sent by Maurice Lineman. Photos:

1. Rhizophora apiculata seedling

2. Group photo of Forum attendees
3. Mangrove forest on the Kinabatangan

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