International workshop on ‘Haze and Biomass Burning in Asia’

KUCHING: The Sarawak Tropical Peat Research Institute (Tropi) hosted an international workshop on ‘Haze and Biomass Burning in Asia’ from July 9 to 10.

The workshop was part of a project between the International Institute for Applied Analysis Systems (IIASA), the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) and Tropi.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) professor and ASM partner Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Jaafar said collaboration with Tropi was due to the successes that were proven by them during the haze season in 2015.

“We find that there is no fire in hot spots such as peatlands in Sarawak and it proves Tropi is doing well.

“We are impressed by the success of the Tropi in the past 10 years ago and after the workshop held in Bandung, we chose this place to hold a second workshop,” he said here yesterday.

He also added that the collaboration was the biggest between Tropi and the state government.

“There are three strategies that are carried out, firstly the climate and air quality, the management of peat soil and how to change the material cut into power or become energy,” he said.

He then pointed out that once this study was successful, they would like to share the results with their friends in Indonesia, Thailand and even around the world.

“To help in promoting this effort, we involve international agencies such as IIASA and ASM. Through this study, we will have the ability to predict when we are hit by the haze,” he explained.

Dr Markus Amann (left), Abu Bakar (centre) Lulie (right) being interviewed by the media at Sarawak Tropical Peat Research Institute (Tropi) Samarahan. Photo: Nur Afifah Basyirah

Meanwhile, Tropi manager Dr Lulie Melling said Tropi practised “Stewarding for Sustainability” which emphasised their role in utilising Sarawak’s natural resources of native peatlands.

“Our mission is to focus on monitoring and accountability in peatlands through conservation and sustainable practices.

“The community also needs to know that the development of peat farming is to fulfill the aspirations of Sarawak in advancing socioeconomic,” she said.

She emphasised the importance of the Government-University-Industry Triple Helix co-operation model, especially in facing the country’s economic challenges.

According to Lulie, Tropi was set up to address the challenges in peat soils in collaboration with the government and related agencies especially in resolving the issue of carbon emissions.

“It relates to the development of peat soils, the approaches used are land processes, synergies between agro-management and environmental factors.

“Our goal is to formulate the best management practices on peat by means of competent and adaptable implementation of key agro-environmental management on peat.

“It can be achieved by incorporating a procedure synthesis based on the findings of researchers, knowledge and understanding in tropical peat soils,” she said.