Protected and Precious

loading Tall trees are a feature of primary rainforests in Malaysia. This photo was taken in the Highlands Permanent Forest Reserve, Penang.

Penang is home to a 130-million-year-old forest and a cherished network of reserves and protected areas.

In Penang’s early days, botanists and naturalists from around the world came to scour its hills for their flora. While the rest of Malaysia’s forests remained almost impenetrable, the forests of Penang with a network of bridle paths and trails made access to flora and fauna easy, thus opening the door to the early study of Malayan biodiversity. Plants from Penang’s hills were shipped to herbariums and botanical gardens around the world, and the Penang Botanic Gardens blossomed under the leadership of Charles Curtis, making the study and preservation of these most precious of specimens possible.

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