KOTA KINABALU: The conservation of the Ulu Segama Malua Forest Reserve inhabited by over 1,000 orang utan, the highest concentration in Malaysia, has become a model in forest conservation by Unesco.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said all logging activities in the area were terminated in 2007 to make way for the setting up of an orang utan sanctuary.
Replying to a question from Datuk Joniston Bangkuai (BN-Kiulu) at the state assembly sitting yesterday, he said the state government would not budge from its decision for the sake of the future of forest reserves and wildlife in Sabah.
This was despite the state government having to forgo revenue in logging royalty and upsetting many loggers, he said.
Musa said the conservation of the Ulu Segama Malua Forest Reserve, covering 240,000ha, was just part of the conservation initiatives carried out by the state government, which was in line with Malaysia’s commitment to preserve at least 50% of its forests.
He said one of the conservation efforts carried out by the Sabah government was the Kinabatangan Corridor of Life, involving the conservation of a 150,000ha river riparian area as a wildlife zone for the purpose of restoration.
This conservation effort is supported by funds from the private sector such as Nestle.
The other conservation areas noted are the Lower Kinabatangan and Segama Wetlands, the biggest Ramsar site in Malaysia with 79,000ha, Trusmadi Conservation Area (74,736ha), Danum Valley Conservation Area (43,800ha), Maliau Basin Conservation Area (105,443ha) and Imbak Kanyon Conservation Area (30,000ha).
“With the gazetting of the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve as a protected area, the passage or connectivity for Maliau, Imbak, Malua-Ulu Segama and Danum has been created into a block of totally protected area covering more than 500,000ha, the biggest in Malaysia,” he said.
Musa said the Sabah government was also determined to increase the totally protected areas from 1.35 million hectares (including state parks and wildlife sanctuaries) to 2.1 million hectares or 30% within the next 10 years.
The state government, he said, through the Forestry Department, was also identifying areas to be gazetted or reclassified as Class 1 Forest Reserve (protected) and to increase the Class 1 Forest Reserve areas to one million hectares this year.
To a supplementary question from Datuk Wilfred Bumburing (PKR-Tamparuli), Musa said the annual revenue from logging royalty had dropped from RM1bil to RM100mil. — Bernama