Our own Tree-mendous arboretum

Sheena Wong

Trees play an important role in our lives and development. Establishing an arboretum allows us to showcase Gamuda Park’s green database accumulated over the past 20 years. We plan to draw on the native knowledge of Orang Asli and scientific findings of arborists to cultivate plant and tree species effectively. These trees will then be relocated to Gamuda developments under the Advance Tree Planting initiative. In this issue, Khariza Abdul Khalid, Chief Operating Officer of Gamuda Parks, shares the top five things that you should know about our very own arboretum. 

1. What is an arboretum? 

An arboretum is a botanical library, or a large garden, where many types of trees are grown for people to enjoy and observe for conservation, leisure or academic purposes.  

In our context, the arboretum is a research centre within the Wetlands Forest Park in Gamuda Cove. It is also contiguous with Paya Indah Discovery Wetlands in the Southern Klang Valley. 

Due to open in 2021, the Wetlands Forest Park Arboretum will exhibit more than 300 protected wetlands species, aquatic plants and marshes. It will fulfil multifunctional objectives for Gamuda Parks, such as forest restoration, floodwater drainage reserve, research lab and seed bank facility. 

Location of the Arboretum Research Centre within the Wetlands Forest Park. 

2. What are the differences between the arboretum and a nursery? 

The Miyawaki planting approach mimics a forest environment. 

3. What are we doing with the planted trees in the arboretum?

As a forest seeding bank and nursing ground for healthy plant stocks, seeds will be gathered for propagation and research purposes during the fruiting seasons. Matured seedlings above 1m in height will be transplanted to townships such as Gamuda Gardens or Jade Hills.  

Priority is given to growing native species and trees with high values under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list. Progressive monitoring and observation systems are implemented to ensure a 100% survival rate for these plants. 

This tree planting programme is an example of nature-based solutions that can help to restore our ecosystems. With these measures in place, we aim to plant a million trees by 2023. 

4. What else besides trees in the arboretum? 

In addition to research facilities and educational hubs, the entire park is designated into several botanical zones, namely the Threatened Species Garden, Shorea Forest, Ethnobotanical Garden, Shoreline Fringe, Riparian Fringe, Floodplain Terrace, Berry Garden, Timber Species Garden, Palm Forest, Bamboo Forest and Aromatica Garden.  

Each zone has specific themes and functions to serve. For example, the Ethnobotanical Garden will harness the traditional knowledge of indigenous communities and provide information about medicinal plants, herbs and spices, while the Berry Garden will attract birds for leisure bird-watching. 

Most importantly, it houses a comprehensive collection of riparian specimens to stimulate a wetlands forest. 

5. Why do we need the arboretum? 

Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world. They cover just six to nine per cent of the Earth’s surface but contain about 35% of global terrestrial carbon stock.  

With a high capacity to sequester carbon and store carbon-rich organic sediments, wetlands have become the most vital ecosystems to conserve for global carbon balance check and climate change mitigation.  

The arboretum is therefore critical to preserving these thriving wetlands, promoting wildlife and plant genetic diversity.