Public listed Sabah-based company TSH Resources Bhdhas earmarked some 30,000ha or about 25%of its total forest management unit (FMU) in the Ulu Tongod forest reserve in central Sabah as a full-fledged conservation area.
TSH Forestry Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Jaswant Singh Kler said the area was unique because it consisted of ultramafic heath forest.
“There are rare orchids and plants in the area and this forest may well be host to many different and varied life-forms waiting to be discovered,” he said at an agreement signing ceremony in Sandakan yesterday involvingTSH Resources, the Sabah Forestry Department and the Global Environment Centre.
The signing paves the way for a biodiversity survey in the ultramafic forest area.
Ultramafic forest is a rare type of forest found in areas with dark coloured soil containing a high level of heavy metal compounds such as nickel, chromium, iron and magnesium.
At the signing ceremony TSH Resources was represented by Jaswant, the Forestry Department by its director, Datuk Daniel S. Khiong, and GEC by its director, Faizal Parish.
Japan’s Consular-General in Sabah, Yutaka Hirata, represented Japan’s Keindanren Nature Conservation Fund (KNCF) that is financing the survey.
Under the arrangement, TSH Resources will provide the site for the survey and the Forestry Department, the researchers. GEC will manage the funding obtained from KNCF.
Faizal said the 1st phase of the survey, involving about 20 researchers, would begin next week.“There has been very little work done anywhere in the world on this type of forest.”– Bernama.