Monday, June 23, 2014

At the Entrance to Tanarimba

Visitors Centre

Purple Cane Restaurant
I think Tanarimba management got it right this time. Purple Cane is a good choice for a food and beverage outlet in Tanarimba. And thank you Purple Cane, for venturing out to this place. A nice setting to enjoy a cup of tea, indeed.
The Visitor Centre itself is an architectural showcase. Built from trees harvested in the former pine plantation within Tanarimba, its spaciousness and dimensions are very well thought out and certainly befits the unique location such as Tanarimba.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A day in Tanarimba

If you are used to living in the city, living in Tanarimba will be a totally different experience.

Here, you will spend more of your time outside rather than inside your house. The jungle and surrounds draw you to engage and explore the area. Even for the less adventurous, you will find that having tea at your patio, facing the greens will be more enticing than in front of the TV.

Kids will have a chance to rediscover life outside Playstation, Xbox and Facebook. They will be able to roam the streets and get to know some neighbours. They will grow up not fearing leeches and will experience the seasonal fruiting and flowering of jungle trees. They will realise that there are many other types of birds (not just the city crow), from the brightly coloured sunbirds to the mighty hornbills with loud flapping wings when in flight.

The sounds of the forest will at first be loud and mistimed, like a orchestra perpetually tuning up. Then gradually, you will recognise the rhythm of the forest and learn to appreciate the cicada's treble and the tenor of the gibbons.

You will appreciate that what living with Nature really means. Your sense of responsibility over the Earth gets boost. Sustainable living is no longer mere rhetoric.



Sunday, April 15, 2012

Animal Farm

Tanarimba is special because you can easily spot the majestic hornbills, hear the booming calls of the gibbons and have the occasional slow loris hanging around after nightfall. Many other animals of the forests live with us in Tanarimba but they have a problem - us. We, those of us who come from the cities, don’t really know how to live with the other residents of Tanarimba.

Here are some tips:-
1. Control your contractor or builders. Some building workers with little other entertainment tend to trap these animals for food,  fun or money. Please ensure that your contractors are reminded that this strictly not allowed.
2.       Control your domesticated animals – dogs and cats. Dogs have such a life in Tanarimba. But as owners we must ensure that they are kept under our control. Dogs should not be allowed to roam freely without our care. Dogs can 1. Hunt down forested animals and 2. Spread domesticated diseases to forested species (and vice versa).
3.       Wild boars tend to like vegetable patches, wet swampy areas. Leave them to their fun and they’ll be fine. They need their fun and space so spare some for them and keep the rest for yourself. The same with flying foxes, monkeys and birds that would inevitably help themselves to our fruit trees. We will have to accept that some fruit of our labour will need to be shared.  By the way, large scale fruit tree or vegetable farming is totally not aligned with the concept of Tanarimba. If you want to run a vegetable farm, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives just outside the boundaries of Tanarimba in Kampung Janda Baik.
4.       When you have rats or rodents in the house,  expect to have snakes. Snakes are found in houses because they are looking for a warm place to nest or because our houses are home to rodents too. So, design your house well- Avoid nooks and corners that would attract rodents and hence snakes. Keep the area clean of refuse to avoid attracting rodents. Desing your house to be on stilts - that should solve most of the problem.
5.       Educate yourself on the animals. How they live, what attracts them, which snakes are poisonous and which not, why are bats so important and therefore should be appreciated, not avoided. We need to remember that they were here first. Further since we humans are supposedly the more intelligent species, it is us who should be the smart, polite and accommodating host. It is up to us to develop a work-around solution and not expect them to change their lifestyle for us.  
6.       Appreciate our neighbours. Invest in scope or a pair of binoculars. Seeing the birds “up close” with their colourful plumage or the gibbon during its afternoon slumber is a sight to behold. And you can do all that while having tea on your balcony, here in Tanarimba.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Calling all Tanarimba residents

Are you a resident of Tanarimba? Would you like to be informed of matters regarding Tanarimba through a dedicated newsletter - only for residents? Do you have an idea to contribute and would like to get in touch with other residents? 

If so, please send your contact details to outsiderrecords@gmail.com. Information needed is your name, email address, telephone and tanarimba lot no.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sustainable Homes - Defined...again


Below is an excerpt from a respected international financial newspaper.

Eight common features are found in most building guidelines for sustainable dwellings from the USA, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and the UK.

These eight are:-
1. Optimising the use of energy including CO2
2. Efficient use of water
3. Local and durable construction materials sourced without destroying habitats.
4. The collection of surface water
5. Optimised waste management
6. Minimising all forms of pollution, including noise
7. Maximising the health and well-being of those using the building
8. The fostering and care of local ecology

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Is marble a sustainable material?

To know what materials are sustainable is not an immediately easy task. It requires us to ask ourselves and our suppliers a few probing questions. Further, what is sustainable today may not be so tomorrow.

To investigate if marble is considered a sustainable material in Malaysia, we should ask ourselves these questions:-

Where did it come from? If it was extracted from limestone hills such as that shown in the photograph below, which means, its extraction would cause the destruction of a delicate limestone ecosystem – then, I would say - not sustainable. Limestone hills are critical ecosystems. Besides the multitude of unique flora and fauna that live on it, it also is the natural home to bats. Bats are the main pollinators of fruit trees – one no less kingly than the durian. And they keep the insect population in check as well.  Some marble may be quarried from underground sources, instead of land outcrops like hills. Then we must find out if the land above was part of or supports a sensitive ecosystem. 

How much energy was used in producing it? A common measurement used nowadays to measure and compare sustainable materials and practices - the carbon footprint. Marble imported from Italy with substantial effort to transport it over the seas may be less sustainable that that sourced locally and sustainably from non-sensitive areas with minimal impact on eco-systems.

Are there alternatives? Marble are aesthetic add-ons to a house. It is hardy and easy to maintain when used on kitchen tables or tops. OK, noted. But we should always ask ourselves if there are suitable and more sustainable alternatives? Ceramic tiles (source being clay from the ground) or wood from sustainable forests could be good alternatives. 



The last point sometimes puts us in a bind. At times, we have no choice but to use an unsustainable material simply because no alternative is available. For example - cement. In Malaysia, cement or concrete are made from aggregates (stones) predominantly extracted from limestone hills. But there is no other better and affordable material (at the moment) as an alternative. Concrete / cement manufacturers are nevertheless applying more research into the production and mix to make cement / concrete more sustainable. Hence, we should support such companies by buying from them. Of course, one can also build a house entirely from wood, but then we still need to pave the road!

As industries progress and try to improve their processes to meet customers demand for more sustainable products, the criteria of what is sustainable and what is not, may change again. Therefore, as consumers we have an important role to play. Ask your supplier these tough questions - He or she may not have the answer, but ask anyway because we need to send the message back to the producers that we all need to be more responsible when we use our Earth's limited natural resource. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Marble - Is it sustainable?

Many would admire the natural patterns of marble slabs that adorn kitchen tops, bathrooms walls, internal flooring and even the cladding of external walls. The way the colours weave through the ancient stone is both attractive and very difficult to replicate. And there is nothing like the real thing for an ego-boosting house interior. Man-made marble? yeah, right....

When choosing materials that would adorn your home in Tanarimba, we should investigate the ecological impact of the chosen material. Ecological impact is not only the CO2 emitted by industries to convert or make that material fit for use, it is also the impact on biodiversity and the community. All that and something that doesn't burn a hole in our pockets. To those not following the plot, that is how one would define sustainability today.

Yes, it is undisputed that almost everything that we do and use as a resource will have a negative impact to the overall ecology. Human's existence in today's numbers is itself detriment to Planet Earth. It is almost impossible to be totally green today and in this parallel universe that we exist. What choice have we, really? Then again, being the smartest creature on Earth (sometimes I wonder), we inherently carry the responsibility to intelligently minimise our impact. We can't leave the task to the Chimps or the Elephants. That is why we need to ask that question when we build our house in Tanarimba (and similarly in almost everything else that we do) - Is that material affordable, has minimal ecological impact, benefits the community and has minimal CO2 emissions? Once you tick all the boxes, we have done our part to be sustainable.

So, the material of relevance today is marble. I will set out my thoughts in the next article. In the meantime, have a look at where made-in-Malaysian Marble predominantly comes from -

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Of Climate Change, Landslides and Tanarimba ...

We read once again of landslides in the Klang Valley. Tanarimba being as hilly as it is though less prone to landslides is at risk as well. Landslides are an inherent risk of any terrain that is steep enough for gravity to do its job. It would be naive for us to ignore this risk. We just have to deal with it.

Have you heard of statements like 'No lah, it has never happened in Tanarimba before' or 'The soil in Tanarimba is different'....? At times, lulling us into some false contentment or comfort.

However, we can deal with it. I think the most important first step to dealing with it is our honest acceptance of the risk. We need to accept that climate had indeed changed. The current extreme weather conditions will prevail or get worse. We can no longer rely on historical weather patterns to forecast the future. We have to plan for worse weather conditions than today when we build our houses in Tanarimba. We have to take extra care of the land that we will inhabit and respect the natural terrain. The engineers need to study the hydrological aspects of the land and suggest proper drainage systems. Clear-cutting of slopes will not work. Clearing the undergrowth or thinning the natural tree-cover will not work. Overbuilding the house structure will not work. Stopping or diverting a natural stream / river will not work.

It is indeed a challenge. However, I think while the risk is there in Tanarimba, the way it is currently planned, being a low density sustainable development and with the community working together to avert such risks, Tanarimba can work.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Is having a Vegetable Plot a good idea for Tanarimba?


I would say, yes and no. Firstly, 'yes' because it does make sense to grow your own organic food as it is clearly in line with the whole sustainable living concept. Nothing like using your own lady's fingers for your own curry. However, I would then also say 'no' if the plan is to have a commercial sized plot to plant enough vegetables for everyone and his neighbours. So, I would recommend a smallish plot with enough plantings only for your own consumption. The reason is simple. Look at this picture - Tanarimba is a jungle with a relatively good but delicate biodiversity. If we clear too much of the natural undergrowth of jungle area for non-jungle vegetation, then Tanarimba will not longer be what it is today. It would create an imbalance to the already delicate biodiversity. Secondly, too much emphasis on vegetable planting may cause human-animal conflict in Tanarimba. Some wild boars may to your dismay enjoy a mud bath next to your cabbage. And I'm sure the wild boars will be the losing party in any ensuing battle. We need to remember that the animals are part and parcel of the local ecosystem, so let's be nice to our neighbours.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pahang, please follow Selangor!

31 March 2011 marked a historical day in forest conservation in Malaysia - well more precisely Selangor. The Selangor State Forestry Act has been amended so that any degazetting of a Forest Reserve requires prior public inquiry. Read more about it here http://selangorstatepark.blogspot.com/ entry on 1 April 2011. What will it take for Pahang and the rest of the country to follow?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Seeking Green Contractors

Is it true that in Malaysia, it is not easy to find a contractor who would build a house using ecologically friendly materials and methods? A contractor who would not just build but also provide the value-added input of trying out methods that is considered more green and go about hunting for the materials that would past the carbon footprint tests? a contractor who is conversant with the Green Building Index and know how to go about meeting the criteria even for small projects like a single house in Tanarimba?

Please email me at outsiderrecords@gmail.com if you are one such contractor. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Trees - where do I get them from?


So, you have got yourself a nice piece of Tanarimba. And after reading this blog :) you are convinced that you should plant up your area to do your part in keeping Tanarimba greener than green. You go to Nathan but he hasn't enough seedlings in the in-house nursery to offer you simply because they have not been replenishing the stock (mind you, the in-house nursery has species that I think is not so appropriate for Tanarimba, like the popular hedge like kelat species) Where then should you go to get new trees and how should you choose the appropriate species?

Well, there is this award winning effort by someone in Tanjung Malim. With over 700 species of indigenous species in the nursery, James is very popular with the local government and our neighbour across the causeway. So he is really booked out with bulk orders. To get trees from him, I think we ought to combine our orders to make it worth his effort. James is a good source because he knows his trees very well and can recommend suitable ones for a place like Tanarimba. Email treespth@tm.net.my

Yes, we shouldn't just choose any tree species but should should those that would naturally fit the area. So, the coconut tree would not do and neither would the Indian Mango nor the hibiscus - our national flower. I would recommend we choose species that are suited for Tanarimba and would be agreeable to the birds and other critters in the land.

And how would one go about it? Go speak to James or seek out websites like www.wildasia.org, etc. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Only 20% of land for building

That's the rule. The land status is Agriculture and so we are allowed to only build our house on 20% of the land area.

And the rest of the 80% is to be left 'unbuilt'. And if we follow (I hope we all do) the proclamation of the developer that Tanarimba shall be an ecologically friendly development (and I reason why most of us chose to live here), then I would recommend that we keep the rest of the 80% as-is.

What's as-is?.... scroll down and read the old articles on this Blog.

Read between the lines....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

One man's opinion....

Perhaps a reader may want to add his or her opinion to the topics listed here. Perhaps you may want to contribute a picture or two. Perhaps you have a Tanarimba story to tell. If so, please send it to outsiderrecords@gmail.com.

Have a merry end to this year and may your start to next year be exactly how you wish it to be!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No need to lock the door, honey!

A recent email to me sort of prompted this idea which I think can absolutely work!


Are you one of those from the generation or kampong where you needn’t have to lock your door when you leave your house for the grocery shops? You know – the good old days?

Did you use to know your neighbours well enough to attend their children’s weddings as almost like an extended family member? Do you recall open houses that were truly open houses because the whole gang and more would come over for satay during Chinese New Year, or nasi lemak during Deepavali or muruku during Hari Raya?

We can actually bring back the good old days to Tanarimba. We are starting afresh in an area relaxed enough and hopefully, we can actually start leaving our houses without locking our doors! It only takes a little willingness and openness from Tanarimba residents… easy!

What do you say? Shall we give it a shot? Perhaps first with a get-to-know session at the Visitors Centre? Who’s in?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Please consider before you order the next steamed fish dish…

The nearby Bukit Tinggi Village has a number of seafood restaurants. On certain occasions, a few of them would offer that special, fresh, recently caught ‘river fish’. Certainly more expensive than the farmed ones that come from Bentong or the other side of the highway. For good reasons they say. As the fish was not farmed, it is a healthier option and certainly tastier. Some would just jump at the opportunity of savoring that rare river fish at any cost.


However, I think that’s being irresponsible. River fish as well as sea fishes have been overfished so much that certain species have dwindled to population levels that are deemed unsustainable. Similar to the impact of the consumption of turtle eggs on turtle population and shark fins on the shark population.

So, how do we know which type of fish shall we order for our next meal? Finally, we have a guide. WWF Malaysia and the Malaysian Nature Society have together issued a Malaysian Sustainable Seafood Guide. This guide which can be found at www.saveourseafood.my. It classifies the types of seafood to (1) Avoid (2) Think Twice (3) Recommended and (4) Marine Stewardship Council Certified.

As for river fishes, I would avoid all fishes that are expensive and rare. I have not come across a guide for river fishes yet, but to support a sustainable river fish population, we should only order river fishes that are commonly offered or farmed.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Green Highway

In an earlier posting I had warned about the expanding circumference of KL from KL Ring Road (Jln Tun Razak) to KL Middle Ring Road II (MRR II) to KL Outer Ring Road (to be built) which would not only expand an already choked up city (and the reason why we chose Tanarimba for respite) but may threaten our chosen solitude.

However, here are some good news...

The 10MP is setting aside 2 massive conservation areas in Peninsular and Sabah & Sarawak. The Central Forest Spine (CFS) in Peninsular will cover 4.2 million hectares and will link four major forest complexes from Perlis in the north to Johor in the south, namely Banjaran Titiwangsa-Banjaran Bintang-Banjaran Nakawan, Taman Negara-Banjaran Timur, South East Pahang-Chini and Bera and the Endau Rompin Park-Kluang Wildlife Reserve. CFS should zoom past Tanarimba thus giving us some 'protection'.

The other forest complex will become the Heart of Borneo, covering areas in Sabah, Sarawk and Kalimantan. An extremely important step in protecting the unique biodiversity of Borneo.

CFS is equally as impressive in terms of biodiversity, noting that we do not have tigers in Borneo and some of you may not realise that Fraser's Hill has tarantulas! This small hill has an amazingly diverse number of bird species - more than the entire UK.Belum in Perak is probably home to the most number of hornbills congregation in the world!

I have quoted freely from Malaysiakini. Please read more about it there or in other postings.





Monday, June 7, 2010

How shall I construct my home in Tanarimba ?

Now that we have made the commitment to live here, the next question to answer would be ‘How shall my home be?’. For many of us, we would have conceptualized the home - how it should look like, where it should face etc - as early as the first time we took interest in Tanarimba. Should it be a mansion of 20 rooms all facing the forest across the stream or should it be a 3 bedroom house just enough for a small family with oversized verandahs for the weekend getaway?


Whichever design we would choose, I would humbly encourage my neighbours to adopt building designs and concepts that would suit Tanarimba.

Here are some ideas:-

1. The right architect and the right contractor

I would choose an architect who ‘feels’ for Tanarimba. Someone who can design a house that fits into Tanarimba, not one that would stick out like that sore thumb. The contractor would be equally important if not more. He or she should be cognizant of the uniqueness of the place and must be conscious enough to work with us and practise good and ecologically-friendly construction methods.

2. Care for our other ‘neighbours’

I am talking about the non-human neighbours. In our design and during construction we should not disturb or harm the animals in the forests. For example, about 2 years ago, the workers of a contractor offered me a Malaysian porcupine if I wanted one, because they said they can easily catch one with their home made trap. I saw the trap but not the porcupine. I reported it to Nathan and they weren’t too friendly with me thereafter.

3. Care for the surroundings

Said many times in this blog, please keep as much of the natural vegetation as possible.

4. It must be a ‘green’ house

Having a home in Tanarimba gives us a unique opportunity to build the perfect green home. It should meet our human needs while at the same time built with the right materials and design to be as green as possible. This topic would justify another few specialized articles on this blog but for now, let me offer some ideas.

4.1 Rain water for non-drinking purposes

I would incorporate rain collection gutter and tank systems and reuse the collected rain water for flushing toilets, washing machine, car wash and general cleaning within and outside the house. I would even have concurrent taps in several areas to utilize the rain water as and when I want. I would just colour code the taps.

4.2 No air-conditioning

I personally think that having an air-condition goes against the very principle of living in Tanarimba. The filtered air that comes out of an air-conditioner will not be half as ‘fresh’ as that coming directly from the outside. In addition, the compressors that run the air-cons would blow hot air out which to me just doesn’t make sense when you are here in Tanarimba.

4.3 Solar panels

This is a tough decision. While I would like to be self sufficient energy wise, the cost of installing and maintaining solar panels to generate electricity for the entire house will be too much to bear at this time- at least for me. But for my other more fortunate neighbours, I would encourage it. I wouldn’t even mind participating in a scheme (if there is one) to have centralized solar panels to generate electricity for Tanarimba’s own use. Maybe in the near future, Sitrac?

4.4 Building materials – are they green?

I ask myself this question all the time. This is where a good contractor comes in. I would strongly encourage my contractor to choose only timber from FSC certified forests, use as little form work as possible, no granite or marble (because the limestone hills where the marble comes from cannot be replaced), know the source of all the building materials so that I can assess the ‘greenness’ for myself. Really tough thing to do in Malaysia, I know, but I would at least try. The more the consumers demand of it, the more effort will the businesses put in to cater to our needs. There’s no other way, green concepts must be led by the consumer. A business’ prime motive is to make profit, so it would not be naturally inspired to offer green products unless there is demand for them.

5. How green is green

We may even choose to follow industry benchmarks when constructing our home.
In Malaysia we have the Green Building Index

http://www.greenbuildingindex.org/

In Singapore, it is the Green Mark

http://www.bca.gov.sg/

In Australia, it is the Green Star

http://www.bgca.org.au/

In the US, it is known as LEEDS

http://www.bgca.org/


6. Will it cost more?

I am convinced not. It does not necessarily mean that a green building will be more expensive than the conventional counterpart. While it is true at this time in Malaysia at least that the more green the building, the more expensive it gets but there are always in between options and we can always plan it such that it is done in stages.

Friday, May 21, 2010

New species found in PNG

Reported here:-
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/2010/05/201051883348225658.html

Scientists found several new species in Foja Mountains in Papua New Guinea. A wallaby (like a kangaroo but smaller), a long-nosed frog and a yellow-eyed gecko. Yellow-eyed? Have you seen anything that has yellow eyes before? I haven't.

Actually, new species are not actually new per se. It is more that they were newly discovered. A few years ago, we discovered that the smaller sized elephants found in Sabah are a distinct species rather than a cousin or relative of the Asian elephant found in the region. So the Asian pygmy elephant was declared a new species.

Besides the bigger celebrities, we also have many lesser new stars like insects, snails, plants, bugs, well bugs are insects, being discovered every now and then.

So, what's the relevance to this blog, you ask.

We have a backyard of a forest. It is not a park but a forest. It is not just a grouping of trees and some undergrowth but it's a living eco-system. It is hence very important for us, the residents of Tanarimba, to retain as much as possible the original state of the land and allow it to evolve.

The so-called creepy crawlies, the bats, the swiflets that crash into your windows or shit onto them if they don't, the babi hutan that digs up your vegetable patch, will inevitably cause some of us some discomfort and even grief. But hey, they were here first. And unless they are about to threaten our lives, we should find a way to live with them. Be part of the ecosystem.

Another friendly reminder... :)

Friday, April 30, 2010

PLEASE do something about it...

Recently, three e-petition emails reached my inbox.


The first one was about a petition against the continued logging and poaching of Temengor Forest Reserve which shares the boundary with the Royal Belum State Park. The Belum- Temengor forested area sits in the north of Perak. It has more hornbill species than Sarawak plus probably holds the world record of having the most number of hornbills in flight recorded in a single evening. Over 2000 hornbills were sighted flying over the area – from Belum to Temengor in one evening sometime in November of 1993. I was there 3 months before and I will never forget the sight of over 160 hornbills flying over Sg Halong at the Temengor area and will always regret that I should have been there 3 months later!

So, I signed the petition in an instant.

The second one was about saving the Malaysian rainforest. In conjunction with Earth Day, someone wanted to send another message to the government of the day that we should treasure and not destroy our biodiversity. This was another easy one, so signed also within an instant.

Then the third one came and I signed it even before I finished reading it. It was a petition against the construction of the Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road. KLORR. This is closer to home, Tanarimba that is. Google it or check it out at MPAJ office in Pandan Indah. The KLORR will be constructed to surround KL and will cut across the Gombak Forest Reserve which separates Klang Gates Ridge (Bukit Tabur) and Tanarimba! I fear it might even be built within sling shot distance to Tanarimba. I do hope I’m wrong. In any case, it will dissect the already depleted forest reserves in Selangor and Pahang and to me there are less ecologically-destructive ways to reduce traffic congestion in the city. So, if I were you, I would sign it too before you finish reading this article. We know how special Tanarimba is to us. The Klang Gates Ridge which is experiencing tremendous pressure from housing developments creeping up to its feet, is one of the largest, if not the largest, single standing karst formation of its sort in the world! If you haven’t climbed it yet, you should and if you walk in a straight line towards Pahang, you will probably end up in your own doorstep in Tanarimba within a day, not more.


So, please click underneath and do the right thing.

No to KLORR

http://www.petitiononline.com/KLORR/petition.html

No to destruction of Malaysian rainforest

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-peninsular-malaysia-rainforest/

No to logging and poaching in Belum- Temengor Forest Area

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/savetemengor2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Court decision on the Asian Carp in the US

It was reported in yesterday's papers that a Court in the US will decide on whether to allow an introduced species of river fish - the Asian Carp - to 'move' into Lake Michigan. The Asian carp is a predator. It is an introduced species and therefore there are no other fish in the rivers that will feed on it, allowing the species to grow in numbers and practically decimate the natural species in the rivers. The fish can grow to almost 100lbs. It's big.

A similar story is found in our Malaysian rivers, with the South American arapiama invading our natural waters after some previous owners didn't want to keep them as a pet anymore. That fish can grow up to 30 feet in size. The 'monster' reportedly spotted in Tasik Temenggor was alleged to have cause the death of 2 fishermen - knocked off the boat and drowned.


Then there is the flowerhorn fish, that owners kept and bred for a while for good luck but then threw them in the waterways after getting bored of them. Another introduced / exotic species that are now king of many waterways killing the natural fishes in its domain....

Many more examples why we should be careful what we put into the rivers of Tanarimba.

...and this story can be expanded to the type of trees, the pets that we bring with us etc to the still balanced and sensitive eco-system that exist in Tanarimba.


Monday, January 11, 2010

A lot happening....

Back in December 2009, I did a quick run to Tanarimba and was surprised by the pace of 'development'. The community is finally moving in. I hope that we will continue to observe and preserve the essence of Tanarimba and help each other keep its unique identity. And if you don't know what that is, just take a peek at Sitrac's official tanarimba website.

Just a few reminders once again. More can be found in earlier postings of this blog.

1. Please keep as many trees as possible. It is stated in the title deed after all. And if we have to cut some down (example for the road), it is recommended that we plant six for every single tree cut.
2. Along with the trees, please keep as much of the natural undergrowth as possible. Just clearing the land and planting taiwanese grass might appeal to most, but a jungle is a jungle. It needs a natural ecosystem which includes the undergrowth. You might want to have some clearing for a play area, but I would recommend you keep the other parts of your land in its natural form, please.
3. Blend in with the locals. The animals, birds, insects and worms (including leeches) were there first. So, we are the invaders. It would only be neighbourly to leave them some ( a lot if we keep most of the trees and undergrowth) space and freedom to co-exist with us.
4. It is recommended that we plant only indigenious trees. Please try to avoid imported (also called exotic) species that are not naturally found in the area or along such terrain. It will disturb the natural ecosystem.

Welcome to the rainforest!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Do you know..?

Well....Fate has it that I should leave this space for a little while. Before I go on my sojourn, let me leave you with some pictures of trees that I have yet to get a confirmed identification for. Perhaps, you might be able to help or would like to venture a guess? Please feel free to drop me a line. Thank you!






















Friday, August 28, 2009

Figs - every jungle needs some


The Ficus (figs) is a key-stone species. One that a rainforest depends on to survive as a rainforest. In other words, without it, you can rename the rainforest as something else. As a form tree, it is quite unique and in many ways there is no other tree quite like it, in terms of uniqueness. Well, you may argue that uniqueness in a species is relative. I may find the human kind to be unique while others may not.

There are over 750 species of figs worldwide. And amazingly, almost each specie of figs depend on a particular species of fig wasps to pollinate it. Well, some figs may depend on more than one type of fig wasp, but generally speaking that mutual dependency between figs and the specially evolved fig wasps is more exclusive than any other kind of tree species in the world as we know it.

The wasps would pollinate the figs and while doing so (in the natural world there is no free lunch too) , the figs would provide food and shelter for the wasps to lay their eggs and for the eventual young wasps to be fed (on the seeds of the figs).

Later, the figs would then depend on other animals of the jungle, most notably the birds and the bats, to transport the pollinated seeds to another location to be transplanted and later grow into another fig tree.

Because the figs do fruit a few times a year (and at different times of the year for different species) and there are many fig trees in the forest, it is an important source of food for the feathered kind and our fellow flying mammals. Without the figs, the birds, bats, monkeys and other tree-climbing animals would not have a constant and assured source of food.

That is why the figs are so important.

You can read more about the incredible story of the figs, how it has evolved and what it means to us in Colin Tudge's wonderful book entitled "The Secret Life of Trees". I have unashamedly but with utmost respect and humility borrowed from his book for this short entry.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The first to come and the first to go...

In a distrubed area there are some tree species that will do better at the start, in the open clearing, only to be overtaken later by other species. Besides the Macaranga and Mallotus, there are also the ever-present bamboos and this one - Trema spp.

The one featured above is probably the Trema orientalis which will grow to a sizeable tree of about 60 feet in height. It has flower clusters on the leaf-axils with berries that are slightly flattened, green then red to black. Birds often feed on these berries and help in the tree's distribution.

This tree will later be overtaken by the more matured "longer-lasting" forest tress like the dipterocarps which will grow beneath its shade at first.

This tree will not last long and it would be a good idea to keep an eye on it as it grows older lest one falls onto your roof!...

[Thanks Balu for your help on this one]