TSH Forestry Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Jaswant Singh Kler said that initial work on the three-year programme had started following the green light from the Sabah Forestry Department.
“The joint-venture project is the first of this nature in the Asean region, and shows that a Sabah company can excel in this region and worldwide,” he said at the recent launch of a biodiversity survey at TSH's forest management unit in Sandakan.
Jaswant said BAT had given a target of 3,700ha to be planted this year. The project covers 11,000ha.
“At the same time, to accelerate the process, we are giving out contracts to people from the villages around the district to join us as partners,” he said.
TSH is one of 13 companies licensed to handle forest management in Sabah.
Jaswant said the days of obtaining fast cash from exploitation of forests had long gone.
It was now an era where industry needed to invest and grow trees first before they could harvest them.
To this end, he said, the company had actively engaged in collaborative research with the Malaysia Rubber Board to determine the suitability of clonal rubber materials from Peninsular Malaysia for planting as timber in Sabah.
“We will also undertake trial planting of new rubber germplasm material obtained during the 1995 expedition in the Amazon, Brazil,” he said. – Bernama