Tasik Berombak, located within Setiu Terengganu, has been identified as the main conservation area for this project. This area was once the largest coastal freshwater wetland on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Currently, it is surrounded by abandoned palm oil plantations and may have lost its ecosystem integrity, making it in urgent need of restoration.
The freshwater wetland ecosystem is a vital part of our natural world, offering a crucial habitat for diverse wildlife and safeguarding coastal areas from saltwater intrusion. These wetlands act as nature’s sponges, capturing and gradually releasing various forms of water, including surface water, rain, groundwater, and floodwaters. Trees, root mats, and wetland vegetation further slow floodwaters, minimizing flood heights and erosion, while serving as a vital water source for local communities.
However, our efforts go beyond protection and conservation. We aim to restore deteriorating native Melaleuca Forests around Tasik Berombak by replanting indigenous Melaleuca tree species. Education plays a vital role in this endeavour, as we work to enlighten the local community about the sustainable utilisation of Melaleuca Forest resources. Currently, these forests are often perceived as unruly wilderness, leading to their clearance for agriculture, including unsuccessful attempts with unsuitable crops like Palm Oil.
Our project is hands-on. We plant trees ourselves, starting at our nursery. We take pride in this approach, rather than relying solely on outsourcing to third party to do the actual planting. Working from the nursery allows us to oversee every step, from selecting species to nurturing seedlings and replanting them. This end-to-end management ensures precise execution, considering both financial aspects and practical challenges. Our commitment extends from planning and execution to CSR financing, detailed planning, and community education at every stage.
A project manager’s foresight is a powerful asset, enabling us to uncover the untapped potential within our initiatives. The story of our Tasik Berombak project began with a clear mission: to reclaim 200 acres of deteriorated land, once exploited for agriculture plantations, over 15 years ago. After the agriculture venture faltered, the area remained abandoned and neglected, devoid of restoration efforts. The solution? Replanting the region with native melaleuca trees, the original flora of this area. Yet, this replanting endeavour is just the initial chapter in a broader, far-reaching vision.
At the heart of this vision lies the potential to produce a specialized honey comparable to New Zealand’s renowned Manuka Honey. Melaleuca honey, harvested from pristine melaleuca-concentrated regions, shares numerous therapeutic qualities with its famous counterpart. Despite its rarity, the reforestation project in Tasek Berombak holds the promise of establishing the ideal melaleuca production base for this unique honey. This potential will materialize as the melaleuca trees we’ve planted start flowering, typically around four years from planting.
Our indigenous melaleuca cajeput trees in Setiu Terengganu offer yet another exciting prospect – Melaleuca essential oil. Renowned for its antiseptic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties, this essential oil has been a traditional remedy in our local community. To fully unlock its potential, we’ll need a significant volume of melaleuca tree leaves. The reforestation project in Tasek Berombak is poised to become the perfect melaleuca oil production base. However, this potential will only fully materialize as the planted melaleuca trees reach maturity, typically within 7-10 years.
These extended possibilities of melaleuca reforestation aren’t solely about business; they are about community development. They possess the capacity to nurture small-scale cottage industries right from the beginning, with the potential for future full-scale commercialization. This journey entails establishing medical-grade GMP processing plants, international brand marketing, and comprehensive supply chain processes. Ultimately, these products may proudly bear the label “A Product of Setiu Terengganu.”
Take action now. Together, we can make a difference before it’s too late.