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Borneo, Sarawak, Sarawak Economy, Sarawak Environment

Sarawak committed to sustainable forest management

IT is good to know that the State government is going to further strengthen its sustainable forest management policies and practices.

Did you know that the state invited the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations here in the 1970s to study our forests and make recommendations on forest management?

In 1989, the State also invited the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) to send a mission here to assess sustainable utilisation and conservation of tropical forests. This includes advice on our genetic resources and maintenance of the ecological balance.

The ITTO found that forest management in Sarawak was of a higher standard than in most other tropical timber producing countries.

As a follow-up to the recommendations of the mission, the Model Forest Management Area (MFMA) Project was implemented in 1993 and Phase II was completed at the end of 2000.

A Malaysian-Germany Technical Co-operation Project entitled “Promotion of sustainable forest management in Sarawak” was set up in January 1995 and is now in its second phase. A pilot study area in the Upper Baram was established to demonstrate the sustainable forest management system proposed by this project.

Sarawak’s timber industry also recognises the importance of sustainable forest management and has taken steps to upgrade the logging skills of its workers.

Did you know that the Forest Department and the Sarawak Timber Association (STA) have conducted training courses for tree fellers since 1996 with the assistance of qualified trainers from New Zealand? These training courses cover directional tree felling, chainsaw maintenance and associated safe working practices.

It is reassuring to know that the Forest Department and the Timber Industry of Sarawak are committed to ensuring that the Permanent Forest Estate of the State is managed on a sustainable basis.

Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan has stressed that the State Government always ensures that there is balanced development and environmental conservation in the State.

“It is a challenge for the government but we have achieved this – our state is still covered with a forest that no other state or country can match,” he said.

He pointed out that the State’s virgin jungles and forests must be rehabilitated and preserved for the next generation to inherit. Well said.

The Borneo Post’s report:

Sustainable forest management a serious matter in Sarawak

By Geryl Ogilvy Ruekeith

KUCHING: Sarawak will strengthen its sustainable forest management policies and practices from time to time because the industry plays an important economic role.

Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, who said this yesterday, noted that all players in the industry had been practising sustainable forest management since the establishment of the Forestry Department.

“Forestry has always been a very important sector in the state. The revenue to the state coffers, in the form of royalties, cess and levies, has been very substantial. Each year, we get slightly more than a quarter of our total state revenue from the forestry sector for the development of the state.

“Its contributions towards job creation are equally vital, not only in the timber factories and towns, but more importantly in the rural areas, where jobs are very much needed,” he said at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and certificate presentation ceremony for Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Science (Sustainable Tropical Forestry Management) at Wisma STA here yesterday.

The MoU signing was the third collaborative agreement between Sarawak Timber Association (STA) and Lincoln University of New Zealand.

Also present were STA chairman Pemanca Datuk Wong Kie Yik, the university’s Head of Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Associate Professor Dr Hugh Bigsby, Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) chief executive officer Sapuan Ahmad and the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) general manager Datu Sarudu Hoklai.

Awang Tengah, who is also Minister of Public Utilities and Minister of Industrial Development, added that the indirect contributions of the forestry sector were very much recognised. For instance, logging roads had been very much welcomed by far-flung rural communities which needed transportation for a myriad of reasons.

“Many logging camps also provide basic medical and education facilities not only for their staff but also for the surrounding communities.”

Awang Tengah said as part of its recognition of the immense importance of the forestry sector, the state invited the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) in the 1970s to study its forest and make recommendations on its management.

In 1989, the chief minister personally invited the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) to send a mission here to assess the sustainable utilisation and conservation of tropical forests. This includes advice on its genetic resources and maintenance of the ecological balance.

On the MoU, he said the government recognised and supported every effort to increase the capacity of professional managers to manage the forest sustainably and efficiently.

“Technical knowledge on forest management must be enhanced. I call upon the agencies involved in training for the forestry sector to move forward aggressively so that all our forestry workers are better trained to do their good work for the state.”

Sarawak Government Ensures Balance Between Development And Environmental Conservation – Minister

LAWAS (Sarawak), Feb 12 (Bernama) – The Sarawak government always ensures that development and environmental conservation in the state are balanced, said State Resource Planning and Environment Minister II, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

He said the government is fully aware that the state’s virgin jungles and forests must be rehabilitated and preserved for the next generation to inherit.

“It is a challenge for the government but we have achieved this – our state is still covered with a forest that no other state or country can match,” he said, noting that some Western countries had questioned the state’s forestry policies.

The minister was opening a 77-metre suspension bridge linking 11 Penan villages in Sungai Adang, built at a cost of RM180,000.

The project, which took 35 days to complete, was jointly implemented by the Sarawak Forestry Department, International Tropical Timber Organisation and Syarikat Samling Timber Sdn Bhd.

State Forestry Department deputy director Sapuan Ahmad said he hoped that the bridge would benefit the local residents not only in crossing the river but also helping them to generate household income as they would be able to conveniently bring their agriculture and forest produce to the nearest towns.

“Besides, they would also be able to obtain food supplies from the camps, shops and, most importantly, their children can go to school without having to risk strong currents while crossing the river,” he said. Presently, only about 30 per cent of Penan children go to school.

Meanwhile, Sungai Adang village chief Abau Nyagong, 60, while expressing appreciation to the government for the facility, extended the residents’ request for a road to the villages, electricity and clean water supply.

Pastor Yahya Libang, 47, said the situation was worse before the construction of the suspension bridge because, during floods, they cannot carry out their daily activities because of the strong and risky river currents.

He said two lives have been lost in such incidents.

— BERNAMA

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  1. Pingback: Sarawak is biggest contributor to Heart of Borneo « Parochial Sarawakian - March 24, 2012

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