MyCFS contends that the Central Forest Spine initiative endorsed by the government in 2011, comprising 37 ecological linkages to connect habitat fragments in the four main remaining forest blocks (Central Range, Greater Taman Negara, Cini-Bera, and EndauRompin), could not yet be considered a success. This is because the 5.3 million-hectare landscape is beset with ecological issues, including slow implementation, jurisdictional conflict and loss of forest cover.
The group chalks these weaknesses down to lack of leadership, drive and capacity within implementation agencies; Federal-State government jurisdiction conflicts in the management of natural resources; poor overall communication of the CFS plan; and lack of focus on broader landscape connectivity and conservation.
Nevertheless, MyCFS reiterates that the initiative is arguably the most important conservation initiative in Peninsular Malaysia, and highly supported by conservation experts in Malaysia and internationally. During the meeting, it recommended various steps towards CFS’s successful implementation. These included funding and collaboration opportunities; financial reward mechanisms; information sharing; and reviewing, revising and realigning CFS and its corridors.
Acknowledging these challenges and believing that successful implementation requires strong and forward-looking leadership, MyCFS also encouraged Dr. Xavier Jayakumar to become the CFS champion.
MyCFS says the successful implementation of CFS is important for biodiversity conservation, the protection and management of water catchment, enhancing nature-based tourism and recreation, and the integrated management of forest in mix-use landscapes, and confirmed the group’s willingness to collaborate with the government for its implementation.