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Bahasa Malaysia version of Ethnobotany Methods Manual launched in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia,  
18th. September 1998  

Etnobotani, the Bahasa Malaysia version of Ethnobotany Methods Manual, was launched in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia on September 18, 1998. Representatives of many local institutions – including the Sabah State Museum, Sabah Parks, the Sabah State Library, the Ministry of Culture, Environment and Tourism and the Universiti Malaysia Sabah – attended the event. In addition, more than twenty representatives of sixteen Dusun indigenous communities were present. Numerous members of the local press covered the proceedings. 
 
The guest of honor, Datuk Wilfred Bumburing – Minister of Culture, Environment and Tourism, Sabah  – presented a speech on the role of ethnobotany in Sabah before officially launching the book by cutting a ribbon on a large model of Etnobotani. Introductory speeches were presented by Tengku Datuk Dr. Zainal Adlin, trustee of WWF Malaysia, and Mr. C.L. Chan, managing director of Natural History Publications. 
Dius Tadong, from the Dusun community of Taktuan, receiving an invitation to the Etnobotani launch during a workshop on equitable research partnerships in Mesilau Nature Resort, 17 September 1998  
Gary J. Martin 
After the launch, guests were invited to visit exhibition booths to learn more about People and Plants Online (the Website of the People and Plants Initiative), WWF Malaysia, Natural History Publications and a Kadazandusun Medicinal Plant Manual. Dr. Gary J. Martin, author of the manual, signed and distributed over 150 copies of Etnobotani to guests at the launch. People and Plants in Southeast Asia and WWF Malaysia plan to distribute 1850 additional copies of the manual in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore. 

The press release and speeches for the launch are presented below. 
  


Etnobotani book launched in Kota Kinabalu 

Datuk Wilfred Bumburing, Minister of Culture, Environment and Tourism, launched the book Etnobotani in Kota Kinabalu today. Also participating in the event were Tengku Datuk Dr. Zainal Adlin, trustee of the World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia, and Chan Chew Lun, managing director of Natural History Publications.  

Y.B.Datuk Wilfred Bumburing cutting the ribbon on "Etnobotani" model to launch the manual, as Gary martin looks on.

Co-published by the World Wide Fund for Nature and Natural History Publications, the book was written in English by Dr. Gary J. Martin, an ethnobotanist who received his education at the University of California, Berkeley in the United States. Associate Professor Maryati Mohamed of the Universiti Malaysia Sabah translated the work into Bahasa Malaysia, making the manual accessible to students, researchers and conservationists in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore.  

Dius Tadong of Takuton explaining the production of the Kadazandusun Medicinal Plant Manual to Datuk Wilfred Bumburing as Alan Hamilton and Y.B Tengku Datuk Dr. Zainal Adlin looks on.

  Etnobotani, which is designed to be a field methods manual and a university textbook, contains chapters on botany, anthropology, ecology, phytochemistry, linguistics and economics, as they relate to the study of the relationships between people and plants. In addition, there is an introductory chapter on research design, and a final chapter on applying ethnobotany to conservation and community development. 

“I am pleased that a Bahasa Malaysia version of the Ethnobotany Methods Manual is available”, said Dr. Martin. “I wrote the manual for use by students and researchers involved in grassroots conservation and community development projects, and the translation will make the book more accessible to Malaysians, Indonesians and other people in Southeast Asia.” He added that Chinese and Spanish editions are under preparation. 
Dr. Martin is the Southeast Asia regional coordinator for the People and Plants Initiative, an international programme of WWF, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 
In a speech that opened the launch, Chan Chew Lun explained that ethnobotany “is broadly defined as the relationship between people and plants”. Furthermore, he stated “As a science, ethnobotany encompasses a multi-disciplinary approach that requires study not just of plants alone, but of people, culture and circumstances at the same time.” 

Datuk Bumburing drew attention to the broad importance of ethnobotany in Sabah, a state known for its ecological and cultural diversity. “I am very pleased to stress to you that  ethnobotany – studying the relationships between people and plants and showing their importance to conservation and development – is greatly welcomed by my Ministry”, he said. “Conserving Southeast Asia’s forests and promoting traditional knowledge are challenges that face all of us, especially in these days of rapid economic and social change.”

Tengku Adlin, speaking in his capacity as trustee of WWF Malaysia, noted, “One important lesson that I have drawn from Etnobotani and the wider People and Plants Initiative is that ethnobotanical research must be designed and carried out jointly with community members. The benefits and results of these studies must be shared on an equitable basis with local people and colleagues throughout the world.”

  He added, “There are many ways of achieving this, such as producing educational materials in local languages, promoting the sustainable management of plant resources, disseminating information through the Internet, and encouraging the use of rigorous scientific and participatory methods as we carry out research.” 

The People and Plants in Southeast Asia programme and WWF Malaysia will distribute Etnobotani to selected individuals in universities, non-government organizations and government agencies who are studying the relationship between people and their environment. Copies are also available from Natural History Publications (Borneo) Sdn. Bhd. 

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Speech by C.L. Chan, Managing Director of Natural History Publications (Borneo) Sdn. Bhd. 

YB Datuk Wilfred Bumburing, the honorable Minister of Culture, Environment and Tourism, Puan Monica Chia, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry, 
Dr. Noh, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Sabah; Mr. Francis Liew, Deputy Director of Sabah Parks; Mr. Chan Chew Lun, managing director of Natural History Publications; Dr. Isabelle Louis, director of conservation of WWF Malaysia; Dr. Alan Hamilton, Plants Conservation Officer of WWF International; Dr. Gary J. Martin, regional coordinator of People and Plants in Southeast Asia, Datuk Datuk, Datin Datin, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

It is with the greatest honour that we have with us today YB Datuk Wilfred Bumburing, the Honorable Minister of Culture, Environment and Tourism of Sabah, to grace an occasion that many of us will agree is quite special. For today’s launching is of a book that addresses an issue close to all of us in Sabah. 

Ethnobotany, broadly defined as the relationship between people and plants, uses of plants, culture and plants, or our past, present and future with plant resources, spells out the intimate connections between civilizations and plants of the sort that generations of the peoples of Sabah are familiar with. It has been said that “plants are the foundation of human existence” and there is much living evidence of the very many interesting ways that plants are used in the colourful cultures of Sabah and neighbouring areas. 

Especially exciting is the fact that Sabah, and Borneo, are within a tropical setting where the diversity of its living resources is exceptionally high. There may be as many as 10,000 to 12,000 species of plants in Borneo, and evidence has it that a sizeable share of this is found in Sabah. Thus, a relationship between plants and people that is just as diverse, and as complex as we can imagine, exists here in our very state. 

Yet as a science, ethnobotany encompasses a multi-disciplinary approach that requires a study not just of plants alone, but of people, culture and circumstances at the same time. Gone are the days when ethnobotany basically only spells out the kinds of uses that plants are put to. How diverse are the plant resources available to a community? How are certain plants and materials special for particular needs and how widespread is a particular pattern of use? What effect do certain ways of utilisation have on plant populations, in terms of their survival and conservation? What scientific bases are there of the use of certain plant materials? Ethnobotany today is involved with not just the persistence of cultures, but also the diminishment of cultures and the ecology of the relationship between people and plants. 

Even more remarkable is the possibility now for the compilation of manuals to the study of ethnobotany. One has even been written in 1995 that particularly addresses the context of species-rich, culturally diverse tropical environments. The author of this manual is Dr Gary Martin, regional coordinator of People and Plants in South East Asia. This program focuses on community-based ethnobotanical research, to identify ways in which communities might have an input into development and management plans for the lands and biological resources they traditionally use. The programme, now into its second phase running from 1996 to 2000, works by building collaboration between communities, researchers, conservation personnel, environmental organizations and government agencies. 

Now there is, in addition to the original edition, a version in Bahasa Malaysia, which will find wider distribution and use among students in Malaysia and even Indonesia. This translation was effected by Associate Professor Dr. Maryati Mohamad of the University Malaysia Sabah, as part of its programme to make available more literature resources for subjects of current importance and relevance. 

Manuals have to be easy to use but they are often difficult to write. The vast experience of Dr Gary Martin has no doubt been of primary importance, but what is equally notable is the foresight of Sabah Parks in hosting a key component of the People and Plants Initiative, which has found avenue in the Projek Ethnobotani Kinabalu or “PEK”. The Projek Etnobotani Kinabalu is ethnobotany at work, in which the rich traditions of plant use are subjected to systematic survey, documentation and interpretation through collaboration between members of the communities, scientists and resource managers. This perspective is now being extended outside of Kinabalu, a testimony to its growing importance. 

YB Datuk, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to today’s special event to celebrate the publication of “Etnobotani”. This book represents the commitment of Dr Gary Martin, working with key persons in Sabah’s resource departments and university, towards underscoring the importance of systematic study of the relationship between people and plants. “Etnobotani” is, by itself, a clear example of the need to popularise various underlying concepts that are crucial to resource management: that as many facets of resource utilisation and potential need to be systematically understood and documented, and that this view must encompass the different major stakeholders, in order that conservation and wise management may benefit from the knowledge gathered. 

YB Datuk, it is the utmost significance that you are here with us today and with the greatest pleasure we record our appreciation for your keen interest and continuing support for this work. As the publishers, it is the fervent hope of Natural History Publications that more effort will find expression as this Manual has found, and that our efforts towards building scientific and educational resources will continue to receive your wise patronage. 

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Speech by Y.B Tengku Datuk Dr. Zainal Adlin 

Yang Berhormat Datuk Wilfred Bumburing, Minister of Culture, Environment and Tourism; Puan Monica Chia, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Environment and Tourism; Dr. Noh, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Sabah; Mr. Francis Liew, Deputy Director of Sabah Parks; Mr. Chan Chew Lun, managing director of Natural History Publications; Dr. Isabelle Louis, director of conservation of WWF Malaysia; Dr. Alan Hamilton, Plants Conservation Officer of WWF International; Dr. Gary J. Martin, regional coordinator of People and Plants in Southeast Asia. 

I have been given this honor as a trustee of WWF Malaysia to say a few words for the launch of the People & Plants Etnobotani manual , a joint initiative of WWF, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, England. 

We have all long since  recognised the importance of recording our cultural knowledge of the natural world, and ensuring that our knowledge continues to be a living tradition. To achieve this ambitious goal, we must provide training for people from many different countries, disciplines, regions and backgrounds. The manual - Etnobotani will contribute to this important objective. It is a basic text on ethnobotanical techniques and tools that can be used in research, conservation and development projects throughout Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei. 

Written in Bahasa Malaysia, Etnobotani will be accessible to a wide range of people across the region - to students, protected areas staff, community representatives, NGO members and many others. It is the beginning of our work together to explore innovative methods of promoting sustainable use of plant resources and reinforcing local knowledge of our natural world. This 
approach is critical, as we cannot afford to lose any more time in our struggle to maintain resources and knowledge in the community as lifestyles and natural areas of our region undergo rapid change 

People and Plants provides access to information and training on ethnobotany, conservation and development for colleagues throughout Southeast Asia and other parts of the world. It collaborates closely with WWF Malaysia and other national 
institutions on various community-based projects in Sabah. These initiatives form part of a new generation of projects in which WWF Malaysia emphasises integrating community members in conservation projects. In various areas of the state, we are promoting sustainable and wise use of plants and animals, ensuring that local ecological knowledge is available for future generations. 

Through these projects, WWF Malaysia is continuing to develop a strong and supportive relationship with the Sabah Government, in particular the Ministry of Culture, Environment and Tourism, Sabah Parks, Sabah Wildlife Department and the Forest Research Centre of the Sabah Forestry Department. We are also collaborating with many other partners, such as PACOS and the Kadazandusun Linguistic Foundation, local non-government organisations that are working on common goals. Our network of collaboration extends to ecotourism companies such as Kinabalu Gold Resorts and Wildlife Expeditions, which have given valuable support to various People and Plants activities around Kinabalu Park. 

Representatives of all these institutions are increasingly aware of the importance of linking knowledge, traditions and environment in promoting tourism and other types of economic development. This is particularly critical in biologically and culturally rich areas such as Sabah. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

I would like to extend my thanks to the sponsors of the People and Plants Initiative who have supported the publication of Etnobotani. These include the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in the United States, the UK Department for International Development, the UK National Lotteries Charity Board and the European Union. Further, I would like to applaud the efforts of the author of the manual, Dr. Gary Martin, and his colleagues in People and Plants who first proposed a Bahasa Malaysia edition of the Ethnobotany Methods Manual. I would also like to gratefully acknowledge the efforts of Associate Professor Maryati Mohamed, who supervised the translation, and Chan Chew Lun, who published Etnobotani in collaboration with WWF. 

I would like to say a word on Chan Chew Lun, for those of you who do not know him. He is a naturalist, author and publisher par excellence, recognised for the high quality of his publications on flora and fauna. Even the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew deems fit to publish in Malaysia due to the excellent quality of the publications. He is a gold medal winner, not in the Commonwealth Games, but in the world of publishing. 

One important lesson that I have drawn from Etnobotani and the wider People and Plants Initiative is that ethnobotanical research must be designed and carried out jointly with community members. The benefits and results of these studies must be shared on an equitable basis with local people and colleagues throughout the world. There are many ways of achieving this, such as producing educational materials in local languages such as Kadazandusun, promoting the sustainable management of plant resources, disseminating information through the Internet, and encouraging the use of rigorous scientific and participatory methods as we carry out research. 

My friends, 

Please take the opportunity to visit the exhibition booths in this ballroom to learn of the innovative ways in which People and Plants, WWF Malaysia and their partners are applying these approaches in Sabah. 

You will be able to browse through the People and Plants Online Website, an international Internet service that has been designed and produced here in Sabah by RAM Production Sdn. Bhd., and hosted in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew server. The Website contains information on the People and Plants manuals, working papers, handbooks and videos, and provides links to many other organisations worldwide that are involved in conservation and development. In a more localised context, the Website provides news and information on the various People and Plants field projects that are conducted here in Sabah. 

You will also have the opportunity to leaf through a Kadazandusun medicinal plant manual, published jointly by WWF Malaysia and Sabah Parks. This is one result of many years of hard work by the Projek Etnobotani Kinabalu team, which consists of Dusun-speaking park personnel who have been working since 1992 with People and Plants and many community members from around Kinabalu Park. Many of these community members, who provided the information contained in the manual, are present at this launch and will be pleased to discuss their efforts with members of the press and public. 

I would also like to recognize the presence of community members from various kampongs. [Note: In Bahasa Malaysia, Tengku Adlin asked the community members to stand, and he recognised them for their efforts]. Without them, I do not think that you would be able to produce this type of ethnobotany manual. 

Also for your information, Dr. Gary Martin, the author of Etnobotani, will be signing copies of the manual, which will be available free of charge to colleagues who feel that it will be useful in research, teaching or studies. The co-publisher of this manual, Mr. Chan Chew Lun, has set up an exhibit on Natural History Publications where you can see many other books on the plants, animals, protected areas and indigenous cultures of Sabah. 

Finally, WWF Malaysia has prepared a display that will acquaint you with the activities that we are sponsoring not only in Sabah but also throughout the country. WWF has been working in Sabah since 1972, and one of its first projects was working on a marine study in Gaya Island near Kota Kinabalu. 

In closing, I would like to encourage all of you who do receive a copy of Etnobotani to put it to good use in a united effort to document and promote Sabah's rich heritage of biological resources and traditional ecological knowledge. These are treasures that we should guard and develop for future generations. 

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Speech by Y.B. Datuk Wilfred Bumburing, Minister of Culture, Environment and Tourism 

 

  Good morning. 

Yang Berhormat Datuk Wilfred Bumburing, Minister of Culture, Environment and Tourism; Puan Monica Chia, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Environment and Tourism; Dr. Noh, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Sabah; Mr. Francis Liew, Deputy Director of Sabah Parks; Mr. Chan Chew Lun, managing director of Natural History Publications; Dr. Isabelle Louis, director of conservation of WWF Malaysia; Dr. Alan Hamilton, Plants Conservation Officer of WWF International; Dr. Gary J. Martin, regional coordinator of People and Plants in Southeast Asia. 

Before I begin this morning, please allow me to say thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to launch this special educational book -  Etnobotani. I am very pleased to stress to you that ethnobotany, that is, studying the relationships between people and plants and showing their importance to conservation and development – is greatly welcomed by my Ministry. 

Conserving Southeast Asia’s forests and promoting traditional knowledge are challenges that face all of us, especially in these days of rapid economic and social change. Sabah, like many areas around the world, is facing many cultural and ecological challenges. In the course of a few decades, we are in danger of losing the plant and animal diversity on which we depend. Over a few generations, the traditional botanical knowledge that local communities have built up over several millennia is slipping away. And in academia, we are failing to train enough qualified professionals who can seek solutions to these problems in collaboration with government agencies, local communities and the general public. The publication of Etnobotani and other efforts by the People and Plants Initiative are valuable contributions to reversing these trends. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

Although the term ethnobotany may sound new to many people – including me – I can assure you that it is an integral part of many government programs in Sabah. The most notable example is the Projek Etnobotani Kinabalu, known as the PEK, which was launched in 1992 by Sabah Parks and the People and Plants Initiative. This project focuses on promoting the sustainable use of forest resources around Kinabalu Park and Crocker Range Park, ensuring the continuity of local ecological knowledge of Kadazandusun and other ethnic communities. One of the exhibition booths in this ballroom displays the most recent output of the PEK: a manual written primarily in the Dusunic dialect, which describes the medicinal uses of plants commonly found in the communities around Kinabalu Park. The success of this project is due in large part to the efforts of the PEK research team, based in Kinabalu Park, and hundreds of participants from Kadazandusun communities. I am pleased to see many of the key players in this project with us today, and I would like to welcome them with a few words in our common language [Note: Datuk Bumburing addressed the members of communities in Kadazandusun for several minutes]. 
Let me take this opportunity to congratulate Sabah Parks on sponsoring the PEK, which is a vital section of the Research and Education Division. I would like to encourage Sabah Parks to continue prioritising ethnobotany along with botany, entomology, zoology and other disciplines. 

Far from being the only ethnobotanical project in the state, the PEK stands alongside significant efforts of other agencies, for example, 

(1) In recognising the importance of non-timber forest products, the Forest Research Centre in Sandakan is documenting valuable forest resources that can provide supplemental income to communities. 

(2) the Sabah State Museum has for many years been active in documenting the plants used by many ethnic groups of Sabah. Countless school children have visited the traditional houses and gardens at the Museum that provide an attractive and compelling display of the diversity of plant resources available to us. 

(3) the Agriculture Department maintains a rich collection of native fruit trees at the agricultural park and research station in Tenom. This and other germplasm collections are a valuable resource for local farmers who wish to maintain Sabah’s diverse and bountiful agricultural production. 

I should add that many academic, non-government and community organisations have launched ethnobotanical projects, and their efforts are bearing fruit today. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

In the perspective of the government of Sabah, we feel that it is critical to institutionalise these initiatives, ensuring that short-term ethnobotanical projects become a permanent part of Sabah’s drive towards economic development. As a state that has always relied heavily on its natural heritage, it is essential that we maintain the diversity of resources used in subsistence and commerce. 

Apart from providing models for the appropriate management of critical habitats, we need an ethnobotanical approach to help us formulate government policies. Even as researchers and communities pursue innovative approaches at the local level, we require effective state, national and regional legislation that protect the intellectual property rights of our citizens and regulate the commercialisation of the biological treasures of our state. All of us – government officers, members of non-government organisations, academics and community representatives – must seek to ensure that bioprospecting, ecotourism and other ways of making money from the environment do not kill the goose that lays the golden egg. 

In this context, I was pleased to learn of a recent series of events that address these critical issues. In late August, Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS), a Sabah-based non-government organisation, conducted a workshop on “community protocols” held at the Majora Holiday Farm near Kampung Bundu Tiga, Tambunan. Earlier this week, the People and Plants Initiative and the Universiti Malaysia Sabah sponsored a seminar on “Biodiversity Prospecting: Access, Control and Benefit Sharing”. Over the last two days, the PEK team and many of the community members responsible for producing the Kadazandusun medicinal plants manual participated in a workshop on “Community Research Agreements”, held at Mesilau Nature Resort. All three events have brought to our attention the importance of creating memoranda of understanding between communities, governmental agencies, academic institutions and other participants in ethnobotanical research projects. 

Ladies and gentlemen: 

As you can see from these brief examples, the Sabah government has recognised the value of developing viable ethnobotanical research programs in collaboration with communities. Although some people may feel that modernisation means turning our back on traditional lifestyles, projects like the ones I have described show that traditions are essential to our future. In closing, I would like to join with Tengku Adlin and Chan Chew Lun in thanking the various sponsors of Etnobotani, which I would now like to launch officially. 

Thank you. 
 
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