Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Keeping A Legacy: Sabah is closely monitored by those who are interested in sustainable development

Sabah is setting new standards in sustainable forest management and conservation and this has earned numerous accolades. Notably from the United Nations, World Wildlife Fund Malaysia, Forest Stewardship Council (FCS) and the Prince Charles Charity.

So much so that several forest conservation-related international meetings and conferences were held in the state over the past few months.

At one of them, the United Nation development programme's resident representatives for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, Kamal Malhotra, described Sabah as a model of sustainable forest management not only for Southeast Asia, but also the world.

"What is happening here (Sabah) is closely monitored by those who are interested in sustainable development," he said.

In recognition of Sabah's efforts, the UNDP has agreed to fund a RM14 million project on multiuse forest landscape planning and management at a 260,00 ha active production forest area at the Kalabakan-Gunung Rara forest reserve in Tawau.

Echoing Malhotra, WWF Malaysia Chief Executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius SK Sharma commended the visionary leadership of the state government under the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman for its political will and for "walking the talk" in implementing programmes and initiatives to protect and conserve the environment.

"Sustainable development will determine if we get to keep this planet, and Sabah, with the leadership that it has, will be able to keep this part of the world intact," remarked Dr Dionysius.

Sabah's forest conservation effort has also attracted the attention of Charles, the Prince of Wales, whose foundation is involved in funding numerous rainforest conservation programmes.

State Forestry Director, Datuk Sam Mannan was recently invited by the Prince to share Sabah's success in sustainable forest management at the WWF Global Forest Trade Network (GFTN) Anniversary Forum in London.

It is heartening to not that these strict practices have helped Sabah improve the way it manages its forests. This was evident particularly in terms of phasing out short-term logging licences that did not adhere to sustainability principles.

Through new practices, long-term forest management plans were designed and reduced-impact logging was introduced.

The state also started giving priority to the protection of High Conservation Value Forest, which are home to diverse wildlife and plants, and also serve as watersheds. By commiting to sustainable ways of logging, Sabah has also safeguarded the interests of local communities whose lives depend on the forest.

Switching from conventional logging to sustainable harvesting was perhaps one of the most difficult decisions the state government had to make.

This was due to the fact that Sabah was hugely dependent on timber for revenue and opting for sustainable forestry management means making sacrifices such as losing short-term monetary gains and doing away with the old ways of logging.

Time and resources were instead allocated to finding the best ways to harvest timber without negatively impacting the environment and communities.

Despite uncertainties when the State embarked on the bold decision to push for a sustainability harvested forest, it has passed the litmus test and proved doubters wrong.

"For Sabah, this is not just talk. We have success stories, among them the Deramakot Forest Reserve which has been certified as well as well-managed forest under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification scheme," Musa said.

From the Deramakot experience, Sabah expanded sustainable forest management practices statewide in 1997, allowing it to continue creating jobs and revenue and at the same time preserving its forests and biodiversity.



  1. kerajaan BN amat komited dalam menjaga alam sekitar Saba.


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