KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is targeting to restore some 1mil ha of degraded areas over the next 20 years with some of these areas being converted into forest plantations.
State Forestry Department Datuk Sam Mannan said Sabah had so far restored some 500,000ha of degraded forests and the aim was to rehabilitate a similar sized area over the next two decades.
As much as RM1bil would be needed for this effort, he said in his keynote address at the 17th Malaysian Forestry Conference here that was opened by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
The conference was held as part of the department’s 100th anniversary celebrations.
He said the long term aim was for Sabah to produce timber from sustainably managed forests as well as forest plantations.
“The long term target is to produce 500,000 cubic metres of natural forest management (NFM) timber and 5mil cubic metres of planted timber,” Mannan said.
He noted that forest plantations were fast emerging as the main source Sabah’s timber produce.
“This year, our plantation timber production will for the first time be equal to natural forest production at about 2mil cubic metres each. This is a record,” Mannan said.
Launching the conference earlier, Musa said some 3.6mil ha of land had been designated as permanent forests with 2.2mil ha classified as Class II commercial forest reserves.
He said even though these were commercial forest reserves, they were however being managed on a sustainable basis through the various practices developed by the Forestry Department at the Dermakot Forest Reserve.
“This reflects a strong political will on our part to ensure that whatever natural resources we have are managed in the best possible way,” Musa added.