Malaysia & Thailand succeed in domesticating threatened plant species in degraded ecosystems

Malaysia and Thailand are mega-biodiversity landscapes and rapid development and climate change have inevitably resulted in the degradation of terrestrial ecosystems. The problem of forest degradation and potential biodiversity loss is critical and Malaysia and Thailand are addressing these problems through research and development initiatives. The domestication of endangered, endemic and threatened species (EETS) is known as an effective approach to conserve germplasm. The Malaysia-Thailand project aims to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two nations focused on biodiversity conservation, domestication and eco-tourism through pilot testing, workshops on best practices and technology transfer and capacity development.

Project managers from both countries have succeeded in the establishment of domestication models for Red List species in degraded ecosystems. Since 2016, Malaysia has domesticated a total of 17 EETS plants and planted a total of 3,160 seedlings. In Thailand, 5,546 trees of 12 different EETS have been planted.

Neobalanocarpus heimii growing in the project site at Mae Moh mine in Thailand

Neobalanocarpus heimii, a tropical hardwood tree listed as endangered in the IUCN Red List was successfully planted in Mae Moh mine in Thailand (latitude of 18º18´21”N, longitude 99º44´02” E). This is also the highest latitude at which Neobalanocarpus heimii species can be found growing.

Dr. Ang Lai Hoe, Senior Research Officer of the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) and regional project director of the project stressed the importance of post-planting tending regimes as well as the need to constantly monitor plant growth in order to promote sustainable stand development.


Project managers and stakeholders in Malaysia and Thailand have been actively involved in the sharing of knowledge and transfer of technologies on the domestication of EETS to other countries in the region. Regional seminars and workshops have been organized in 2017 and 2019 to enhance knowledge and understanding of techniques and know-how related to reclamation, rehabilitation and the conservation of Red List plant species. The two countries are also cooperating closely to develop innovative approaches to prevent damage by animals and ensure the survival of the EETS seedlings.


AFoCO Staff with the delegates from Malaysia and Thailand

The visit to the AFoCO Secretariat in Seoul is a part of the Technical Workshop on Project Implementation held from 17 to 20 December. Project staff and participants of the workshop also embarked on field trips to the Korea National Arboretum, National Forest Seed and Variety Center, Baekdudaegan National Arboretum as well as related private corporations such as Mine Reclamation Corp. (MIRECO) and Myeongsin Mine Reforestation & Land Reclamation

[Project Information]

Title: Domestication of Endangered, Endemic & Threatened Plant Species in Disturbed Terrestrial Ecosystem in Malaysia & Thailand

Budget: 1,200,000 USD / (2016-2022)

Implementing Agencies: Forest Research Institute, Malaysia; Royal Forestry Department, Thailand


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