GEORGE TOWN: Penang Hill will be designated a Unesco reserve in the next few years, thanks to a joint effort by Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), an American biological expert and the owners of an eco-tourism attraction there.

Leading the team is USM Biology School senior lecturer Prof Dr Siti Azizah Mohd Nor, who today revealed that the 500ha hill range was a perfect candidate for the Unesco Biosphere Reserve status, owing to the unique flora and fauna found there…

Azizah also thanked renowned and award-winning American biologist Prof Dr Margaret D Lowman for her cooperation in the project.

In her keynote address, Lowman said Penang had a unique and important tropical forest, but was largely unstudied.

“I will make a case for urgent priority to discover, understand and conserve the species and interactions that exist in the forest canopies, especially in Penang.
“Penang’s canopies can provide incredible economic as well as ecological legacies for both visitors and local communities,” she said.

Lowman, who has been called the “Einstein of Treetops” by the Wall Street Journal, will work with a team led by Azizah on an eco-tourism site on the hill called “The Habitat”. She is currently attached to the California Academy of Sciences.

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