Planting the seeds of the Belum Forest Friends
Belum Forest Friends (BFF) is officially underway! We had quite a star-studded lineup for our kickoff in Petaling Jaya. Our pioneer BFFs have been so supportive in spreading the word to their friends and followers, so, with fingers crossed, we are hoping to meet our target of planting 1,000 agarwood trees and 600 sets of school uniforms by the middle of the year!
Our pioneers even had taste of what was to come by getting their hands dirty repotting some jungle plants. Some of them have already made plans to head off to the Belum Rainforest Resort on Pulau Banding to plant the real deal.
Our pioneer BFFs!. L – R: Back row – Mizz Nina, Sean Ghazi, Deanna Yusoff, Bill Keith, Marisa Meer Habib, Dato’ Fazwinna binti Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal, Hjh Farah Mahami binti Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal, Cassidy La Crème, Bella Nazari, Datuk Yasmin Yusuff, Vince Chong, Jaclyn Victor. L – R: Front row – Aziz Harun, Andi Bernadee, Aizat Amdan.
If you're still unsure as to what BFF is, here's a refresher, or click here to read more.
The Belum Forest Friends (BFF) is a new social initiative that aims to get more Malaysians actively involved in rainforest conservation and the environment. For a small fee, BFFs can choose to support either a tree-planting programme managed by the Pulau Banding Foundation (PBF), or a school uniform donation drive for the Orang Asli of Belum-Temengor, facilitated by the Emkay Foundation.
Agarwood trees belong to the genus Aquilaria. After infection by the mold Phialophora parasitica, the resin becomes dark and aromatic, and highly desirable. Pictures here is an Aquilaria crassna tree whose bark has been ripped by poachers to allow the mold to infect the tree. Such destruction will ultimately result in the death of the tree. Image from Wikipedia
The tree in question is an agarwood, or gaharu, tree, one of the rarest trees in Belum-Temengor. This endangered tree is highly prized for its bark and sap, which if infected with a particular species of mold, fetch high prices in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. As for the school uniforms, they are all handmade by the Orang Asli so they fit perfectly while looking cute.
That's not all. The BFF initiative is meant to be a long-term, ongoing programme so additional opportunities will be created for BFFs for instance, volunteering and species rehabilitation projects.
We have a cool welcome pack waiting for you if you sign for BFF. Seriously.