JOHOR BARU: The state government decision to not issue any new logging permits over the past decade has helped revitalise forests in Johor.
Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Johor chairman Vincent Chow said the rehabilitation of forests is vital as they act as a highway for the movement of wildlife.
He rebutted allegations by certain individuals representing non-governmental organisations (NGOs) based outside the state on alleged deforestation and illegal logging activities in Johor.
“Check your facts first before making wild allegations that logging activities are rampant in Johor as there are no new logging areas awarded to concessionaires,” said Chow.
He added the ongoing activities only took place at logging concessionaires awarded years earlier to companies.
Chow said Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar had also decreed that no new logging areas would be opened in the state.
“The Johor royal family are animal lovers and they want a balanced approach between progress and development in the state,” he added.
Chow said the main issue in Johor is not illegal logging or deforestation but illegal poaching including within the Endau-Rompin National Park area.
He said the poachers are usually foreigners and on several occasions, MNS members had stumbled upon makeshift tents left by them in the forest.
“Johor forests are categorised as high diversity as all mammals can be found in the area except orang utan,” said Chow.
He added there were Malayan tigers, elephants, Sumatran rhinoceros and seladang (wild buffaloes) roaming the Endau-Rompin National Park.
Chow however, urged the state government to determine the number of wild animals in Johors He added they should rope in scientists, environmentalists and NGOs to obtain a clearer picture on the number of wild animals in the state.
“Financial resources are the main issue faced by NGOs and we hope the state government and private companies will assist us,” Chow added.