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Bintulu urban forestry management still lag behind that of other major towns and cities in Sarawak particularly Miri according to participants of “Seminar in Urban Forestry, 2009” held by University Putra Malaysia, Bintulu (UPM, Bintulu) at it campus here last Saturday.

“In Miri for example, when they found certain type of trees aren’t suitable they would immediately replaced them. But here in Bintulu – they just left them to literally die,” said Suzana binti Ibrahim a seminar participants and final year UPM undergraduate in Bioindustry Science.

Good urban forestry management according to Suzana has a number of benefits – socially and economically.

“Taiping for example – the Taman Tasik Taiping is well known because of it beautiful urban forest, so is Miri.”

Photos of UPM Bioindustry Science undergraduates. From left to right Norhidayu, Lydia, Suzana and Krishnamurthi

Photos of UPM Bioindustry Science undergraduates. From left to right Norhidayu, Lydia, Suzana and Krishnamurthi

“What drawing thousand of visitors to Miri yearly is not only its shopping complexes but also the beautiful landscape around the city,” according to Suzana. “It makes your feel like driving around a garden city.”

When suggested that Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) probably didn’t have enough funds to properly managed urban forestry within its jurisdiction as done in Miri she said “That’s probably one of the reason.”

“Look at the trees planted along the road in front of the resident office, I don’t think maintaining those trees would cost million. They should have more of that around Bintulu town,” she added.

Another participants of the seminar Krishnamurthi A/L Nagargu said proper forestry urban management actually can help reduce pollutions – thus improving our health, especially in an industrial town like Bintulu.”

“Local authorities should plant trees that could absorb as much hazardous pollutants as possible in town like Bintulu, not just any type of trees.”

However, according to Lydia, another final year undergraduate in Bio-industry science, BDA actually had done good job in term of its urban forestry planning, but stressed they also need to beef up their maintenance efforts.

“Good urban forests do not occur by accident; some form of planning and design is needed to ensure that amenity forest, urban forest and street trees enhance the

cityscape and provide settings that encourage people to use them as part of their everyday life.”

“They must be welcoming safe, attractive and conductive to a wide range of uses,” according to Lydia.

Norhidayu also commanded BDA. According to her the choice of trees along Kidurong highway reflected the local authorities good planning.

“If you see the type of trees planted along the road actually very suitable for that stretch of road. It can help protect road users against strong winds which is common for a seaside town like Bintulu,” she said.

The one day seminar was held to enable final year students to share their research findings with the public as well as to inculcate ‘research culture’ among UPM students said Geogfrey James a lecturer at the university.