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Wednesday August 15, 2007

Sabah to replant two forest reserves covering 13,500ha


SANDAKAN: Two forest reserves covering 13,500ha have been earmarked for reforestation by the state Forestry Department. 

The Timimbang Forest Reserve and Botitian Forest Reserve, which was logged over in the 1950s, will be rehabilitated as part of a directive by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who wanted logged forests to be replanted and preserved. 

A sum of RM5mil has been allocated by the state government to initiate the reforestation of the two forest reserves along the Pitas-Beluran road. Sabah Forestry director Datuk Sam Mannan handed over the cheque to Werfred Jilimin, chairman of the Timimbang Sustainable Forest Management Project. 

In a statement, Mannan said funding for the Timimbang Forest Reserve (11,465ha) and Botitian Forest Reserve (2,145ha) project was sourced from the timber royalty collection. 

The Forestry Department sets aside RM1 per cubic metre from timber revenue and uses it for forestry purposes, including forest rehabilitation and restoration.  

This RM5mil represented the “seed money” for launching the tree planting project, Mannan said, adding that the two forests were still in relatively good condition. 

Only NFM (natural forest management) would be applied in the area, as it was a forest with relatively high bio-diversity, he said in explaining that the restoration work should begin by next year. 

This initial allocation is estimated to be sufficient for the restoration of at least 2,000ha in the first phase of the programme. 

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