[UPDATED] Institute director calls for more scientists in field of tropical peatland

Tropi founder and director, Dr Lulie Melling.

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By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Sept 23: More scientists are encouraged to join the Sarawak Tropical Peat Research Institute (Tropi) and contribute to Sarawak’s research in tropical peatlands.

Its founder and director, Datu Dr Lulie Melling, said that if there were more scientists, they could contribute more to research and peat management to help sustainable development and conservation efforts for Sarawak and beyond.

She added this will help with Sarawak’s progress and bring wealth to the State and country during her talk on ‘Discover the Hidden Treasure: Tropical Peatland of Sarawak’ at the Tropi Auditorium today, which the institute organised in collaboration with the Malaysian Peat Society.

She lamented that that is the issue the institute faces, although Sarawak is well-respected in the international forum and even on the commitment of the State government to do peatland research.

“We need your support (all stakeholders) to communicate with more people because we need more scientists.

“You cannot put one person in charge of one field of expertise alone. Since we have limited resources, we cannot do it alone, and we need international collaboration to speed up research.

“Even if we may have the finances, if Tropi does not have the people, then we cannot go in the direction we want.”

She also elaborated on the possibility that people are not interested in becoming scientists and doing research work, which could be because it is not lucrative, has long working hours, and lacks recognition.

As such, she called on parents to encourage their children to be scientists.

“With that, I hope that the government can look into the matter to ensure the objective of Tropic is fulfilled,” she said.

She also hoped that the Sarawak government would assist in making the institution more sustainable.

“There are a lot of things that need to be done. The government must decide so that more scientists will continue to do more in sustainable tropical peat management,” she said.

Meanwhile, speaking on the aim of the talk, she shared that it is to create awareness of the government’s commitment to the development of the State both economically and environmentally.

“The talks covered the science behind tropical peat and peatland, their biophysical characteristics, the importance of their carbon stock and the socio-economic importance of tropical peat to Sarawak,” she said.

Malaysian Peat Society secretary-general John Ko was also in attendance. — DayakDaily