KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3, 2015:

The picturesque Cameron Highlands’ mossy forest in Gunung Brinchang needs to be temporarily closed to the public to allow its delicate ecosystem to recover.

Regional Environmental Awareness of Cameron Highlands (Reach) president Ramakrishnan Ramasamy said the state Forestry Department must act fast to protect the mossy forest for the good of the people.

He said the mossy forest, with a wooden boardwalk, which makes it easier for people to explore the place, was unable to cope with the pressure from the high number of visitors.

“Most of the moss that covered the floor is gone. Instead, it is muddy all over the place.

“Visitors had also climbed trees in the mossy forest, creating further damage,” he told The Rakyat Post.

Ramakrishnan said the mossy forest needs be closed for at least a year to give it a much-needed chance to recover from the harm of human impact.

He expressed regret that the department had not heeded the advice.

“We advised them to at least register the visitors so that they could monitor the human traffic going in and out of the mossy forest.

“Even that has fallen on deaf ears.”

The mossy forest is especially popular with hikers as the trail to Gunung Irau, the highest mountain in Cameron Highlands, passes through it.

Mountain guide Mohd Mohd Salleh said the situation is so bad that people are now referring to the mossy forest as the “muddy forest”.

“The closure is now really important to put a dramatic stop to the degradation, to let nature recover.

“It should be reopened after a management plan is designed and ecotourism infrastructure is in place.

“If not, at least make the park accessible in a more controlled manner.”

He said the Forestry Department should also consider deploying a team of rangers to patrol the mossy forest to prevent vandalism and littering.

The state Forestry Department office in Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, declined to comment when contacted.

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