Encouraging sustainability: The Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve is not only crucial for the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems, but also in providing water resources. - filepic
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s 350,854ha Crocker Range has been approved as a Biosphere Reserve by the International Coordinating Council for Biosphere Reserve (CRBR), a programme under Unesco.
“The 26th meeting of the coordinating council at Jonkoping University in Sweden gave its unanimous approval for Crocker Range,” said state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun in a statement.
He said the Malaysian delegation was headed by Natural Resource and Environment Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Zoal Azha Yusoff, while the state government was represented by Sabah Parks director Jamili Nais and Sabah Biodiversity Centre director Dr Abdul Fatah Amir.
He said the Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve covers 350,584ha of terrestrial ecosystems and natural landscapes, making it the largest protected area in Malaysia.
“I am proud to say that this is the third international recognition for Sabah and reflects our strong commitment to protect and conserve nature for future generations,” said Masidi.
Kinabalu Park was made a World Heritage site in 2000 and Ulu Segama-Kinabatangan a Ramsar Site in 2009.
“The CRBR is not only crucial for the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems, but also in providing water resources for the more than one million population within the west coast and interior parts of Sabah,” he said.
More importantly, CRBR is a platform for sustainable development, where interaction and involvement of people in the decision-making process is compulsory, and development is based on continuous scientific research and monitoring.
“Under the leadership of Sabah Parks as the lead agency of the CRBR management, and with the strong commitment and support from other relevant stakeholders, we would ensure this international recognition continues to be maintained,” said Masidi.
CRBR is located on the west coast of Sabah and southern part of the Mount Kinabalu (a World Heritage Site). It stretches about 120km north and south, and 40 km east and west.
The core zone (144,492 ha) of CRBR consists of the legally protected Crocker Range Park (139,919ha) and three forest reserves covering an area of 4,573ha.
The core zone is covered by natural vegetation, which is ecologically connected and surrounded by a legally managed buffer zone (60,313 ha) and transition zone (145,779 ha) comprising 257 villages.
The decision to nominate CRBR was done by the Kota Kinabalu mayor, eight district offices (Penampang, Papar, Beaufort, Tenom, Keningau, Tambunan, Ranau and Tuaran) as well as assemblymen of the constituencies within the areas.
As the designation does not involve any land acquisition, but merely a commitment to protect and conserve the area by means of existing relevant laws and enhanced land use and environmental practices, the stakeholders and local communities agreed to the proposal which led to the decision of the Sabah cabinet to approve the nomination of CRBR on Oct 19, 2011.