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About the Author

Iris Cecilia Gonzales
journalist (Quezon City, Philippines)

I work as a reporter for the Philippine Star, a Manila daily. At present, I cover the Department of Finance beat but I also write other stories here and there. I'm also a coffee and scotch drinker, a barefoot traveller and a collector of memories. I live in a parallel universe.

Post

Visiting the mangrove of Kuala Selangor, Malaysia

Published 24th August 2010 - 9 comments - 6003 views -

Mangroves are vital to the environment. Photo by the author

 

 

Unmindful of the scorching heat of the noonday sun, our guide patiently helped all of us into the mangrove forest here.

It was a long way into the area, past lush green plants and giant age-old trees. Insects and aquatic life forms greeted us. We breathed nothing but crisp air.

Welcome to the mangrove of Kuala Selangor here in the Kuala Selangor Nature Park, situated 60 kilometers north of Kuala Lumpur.

After some fifteen or twenty minutes of walking past the dry earth and forested areas where roaming monkeys and other animals and insects roam freely, we finally reach the actual mangrove site.

We put on our boots and gloves and were all invited to dip into the thick covered swamp.

With my left foot injured, I struggled towards the middle part of the forest. It was difficult finding my way there, even though I had to make just a few steps. Most of my fellow bloggers have made their way to the site without much difficulty.

I struggled to help myself, armed with nothing but a wobbly bamboo stick and sheer determination to be part of the planting activity.

When I finally struggled past the universe of mud, I then dipped a green pea shaped propagule into the wetland. With it, I planted hopes for a better environment.

Mangrove wetlands, our guide said, provide breeding, nursing and feeding areas for different species. More importantly, it serves as a buffer against storms and hurricanes.

According to the guidebook provided us by the management of the Kuala Selangor Nature Park, although mangroves cover less than one third of the park, it is the most important ecosystem here.

"The Kuala Selangor Nature Park mangroves form a biologically rich and diverse environment and play important functions both physically and ecologically. They form part of a complex coastal wetland ecosystem and represent and intermediate phase between land and aquatic environments. Mangroves are usually found growing along the coastal and muddy banks of large river mouths. The vegetation consists of trees and shrubs, which are able to thrive in tidal water.  It provides protection against coastal erosion and is also the breeding ground of many marine species," it said.

For most of us, dipping into the mud-covered swamp is not a daily fare. It’s something new, especially for me.

It felt good planting that one seedling. I may never see what will happen with it after several years but I left the mangrove area with high hopes.

In the Philippines, there is a community in the south where people also maintain a mangrove site, acting solely on “instinct and faith,” according to an article by Filipino photojournalist Jes Aznar.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the little steps we made here in Kuala Selangor and those of others that would come and visit the area would go a long way. I'm keeping my faith, too.

 


Category: Environment | Tags:


Comments

  • Kevin Rennie on 24th August 2010:

    Well done!

    A fellow stick-in-the-mud


  • Luan Galani on 24th August 2010:

    Iris,

    very nice to hear some of your experiences there. Fantastic piece.


  • Ian Sullivan on 24th August 2010:

    Didn’t realise you were injured - just thought you were soft!Nice article…...


  • Larisa Rankovic on 24th August 2010:

    That was quite an adventure! I enjoy reading posts from the trip.


  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 24th August 2010:

    @Yes, Kevin, stick-in-the-mud, indeed.

    @Ian,

    that’s a very diplomatic way to put it: “soft”...euphemism for weakling grin haha. Seriously, thanks for reading. Yep, left foot is suffering from a sprain-like pain…weird.

    @Larisa,

    It is indeed. There will more posts to come from the others…

    @Luan,

    Thank you for reading! Very encouraging as always.


  • Tiziana Cauli on 24th August 2010:

    Nice post, Iris! “For most of us, dipping into the mud-covered swamp is not a daily fare”: yeah, it’s a miracle some of us - me in particular - are not still there, stuck in the mud along with the sticks smile


  • Giedre Steikunaite on 24th August 2010:

    Indeed it felt good planting that one seedling. Takes seconds to destroy, and ages to get it back.

    I found the strong commitment of all our guides very inspiring - now those were people who love their jobs!


  • Maria Kuecken on 26th August 2010:

    Beautifully done as always, Iris.  Strangely, it’s actually not the first time I’ve been tramping through mangroves! But the preserve and planting programs there were really well done and educational.


  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 27th August 2010:

    Thank you Maria. Yes, quick visit indeed but we picked up a lot of stuff, you are right grin


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