Pahang farmer grows Bananas and Cassavas in Bauxite-damaged Soil

Pahang farmer grows Bananas and Cassavas in Bauxite-damaged Soil

Cultivating banana trees, oil palms, cassava roots and lemongrass may not seem like a big deal, seeing as all these tropical crops are commonly grown across Malaysia. Except that Surin Deris, a farmer in Kuantan, is doing so in soil that was extensively damaged last year by bauxite mining, which…

Demand for Stingrays is killing Turtles

Demand for Stingrays is killing Turtles

Threatened or endangered animals often become the victims of human greed, which is bad enough. Yet they can also become unwitting casualties of humans’ voracious appetites for other species. That’s what’s happening to turtles in Terengganu, according to a news report. Myriad sea turtles have been getting caught in the…

Trees measurably improve your Mood

Trees measurably improve your Mood

Tell us if you have heard this before: the color green can have a calming effect. That should come as no surprise. Vegetation comes in flamboyant hues of green and evolution has primed us to prefer lush forests to barren landscapes with sand and rock. Here’s the thing, though: gazing…

Helmeted Hornbills are ‘on the verge of Extinction’

Helmeted Hornbills are ‘on the verge of Extinction’

Helmeted hornbills – time to brace yourself – may be on the way to extinction in the wild. They are near-extinct in Indonesian Sumatra and may soon face a similar fate in Malaysian Borneo as well. Unceasing demand for their casques, as their helmet-like appendages are known, has been driving the…

Punk Rockers rock Sabah’s Art Scene with a Conservationist Message

Punk Rockers rock Sabah’s Art Scene with a Conservationist Message

Punk rock and conservationism. They don’t seem to go all that well together. Or do they? Well, in Sabah, they do indeed. That’s thanks to the art collective Pangrok Sulap (whose name translates as “punk rock abode”) in the town of Ranau on the slopes of Mount Kinabalu. The collective’s mission…

The Fiery Peats of Haze in Southeast Asia

The Fiery Peats of Haze in Southeast Asia

By Dr Helena Varkkey, University of Malaya You would be forgiven to think that the haze is here to stay. After all, countries in Southeast Asia have been experiencing almost annual haze episodes since the 1980s. And despite increasingly desperate rhetoric from governments, NGOs and the public across the region…

Sea Turtles, it turns out, are a pretty Mischievous Bunch

Sea Turtles, it turns out, are a pretty Mischievous Bunch

Green sea turtles are docile creatures. All they do is mind their own business, whatever that may be, with unflappable poise. They certainly wouldn’t hurt a fly. Or so you may think. These saltwater reptiles, it turns out, are a pretty mischievous lot. They can be rather grumpy, too. That’s…

Dead Elephant is found in Kedah without its Tusks

Dead Elephant is found in Kedah without its Tusks

A group of anglers in Kedah state recently chanced upon an unwelcome find on their way to Pedu Lake: the remains of an elephant. The dead pachyderm had had its tusks removed in what seemed to be a professional manner. The animal was likely killed by poachers for its tusks,…

Felda wants green Seal of Approval withdrawn from its Malaysian Mills

Felda wants green Seal of Approval withdrawn from its Malaysian Mills

Malaysia’s Felda Group, the state-owned commodities company which is one of the world’s largest palm oil plantation operators, has long been positioning itself as a leader in sustainable agribusiness practices. Now, however, the group has asked that Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil Principles and Criteria certificates, which grant a badge of…

‘Please Protect Our Forests!’ Indigenous Penans Plead

‘Please Protect Our Forests!’ Indigenous Penans Plead

Indigenous Penan communities in Sarawak are mad at the continued destruction of their ancestral forests and they won’t be taking it any more. The Penans, who have traditionally been semi-nomadic forest-dwellers, want all logging stopped in the remote Upper Baram region of Sarawak and the area declared a protected national…

Sale of Bushmeat carries on in Sabah

Sale of Bushmeat carries on in Sabah

Many locals in Sabah seem to view the state’s forests as their own backyards: the animals that inhabit those woods, these people apparently believe, are simply there for the taking – through the barrels of hunting rifles. Reportedly, the bushmeat trade in the state continues to flourish despite a ban…