Dr Zaini and Dr Abd Latif (left) looking into the document at the signing ceremony and witnessing by Prof. Dr. Maketab Muhamed.

JOHOR BAHRU, 30 April 2012 : Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) is collaborating with Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) to carry out the forest and herbs replanting projects.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dato’ Dr Zaini Ujang said, the replanting project is to sustain the splendour of the tropical forest in the ecotourism campus of UTM and part of the co research project with FRIM.

It is one of the value creation created under the Blue Ocean Strategy to attract the students to choose UTM with the tropical environment as their preferred study destination.

“The environmental factor such as tropical forest in the campus area will made UTM distinct and apparent from other higher learning institutions, and become one of the main attractions for the students.”

“The replanting project will also enhance the conducive learning environment and it is part of the campus sustainable plan,” he said.

He said, among the facilities provided are 20 units of kampong-style house, 4 units of long houses and 5 units of bridges including the suspension bridge will be built in UTM to buoy up the ecotourism campus programme .“UTM has allocated 10 hectares’ ground area nearby the Recreation Centre in the campus to be  planted with dipterocarp species such as meranti, cengal, and keruing, while merbau, nyatoh and jelutong for non-dipterocarp,” he added.

Prof. Zaini said, various herb species will be planted to substitute the old rubber trees and shrubs. Besides, 20 bamboo species will be planted at the nearby area and a herbs garden that will take three years to be grown at an hectare ground area.

A Memorandum of Understanding between UTM and FRIM is signed by Prof Zaini and Dato’ Dr. Abd. Latif Mohmod repsectively in documenting the intent of both parties.

Meanwhile, Dr. Abd Latif said , UTM will be recognized as the twin forest campus to establish a sustainable forest biodiversity and to ensure the balance of forestry ecosystem with the technological development.

He said in the establishment of the smart partnership, FRIM will implicate UTM in its projects to develop forest abroad in the near future.

“This project is expected to diversify the tropical forest species in the abandon rubber plantation area by maintaining the rubber trees at the earlier stage and substituting them with high quality local tree species dynamically.

“The forest will be planted systematically with dipterocarp and non-dipterocarp species at the range between 350 and 500 trees for each hectare,” he said.