KOTA KINABALU: State-owned Yayasan Sabah is ceasing all conventional logging operations near the Maliau Basin by year’s end, said Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan.
He said the closure of the designated logging areas was to pave the way for the implementation of reduced-impact logging in affected commercial forest reserves such as Sungai Pinangah, Sapulut, Kalabakan and Gunung Rara from 2010.
He had been asked about concerns voiced by various groups about logging within the buffer zones of the Maliau Basin.
The reduced-impact logging would include third party auditing similar to what has been done at the Malua forest reserve.
“This has proven effective in reducing damage by 50% compared to conventional logging operations,” he said.
Mannan said logging operations within the buffer zones of conservation areas such as the 590 sq km Maliau Basin, about double the size of Penang island, was completely legal.
“Now, the standards for harvesting within these buffer zones have been raised to reduced-impact logging standards by next year,” Mannan said.
Mannan said logging in such areas was not new as forest harvesting was also carried out at the buffer zone in the eastern boundary of another pristine area, the Danum Valley in the 1980s and early 1990s.
The logging was carried out on a massive scale by Yayasan Sabah at what was dubbed its “industrial reserve” to feed its mills in Silam, he added.
He said those logged-over areas were now being reforested as part of the Innoprise-FACE Foundation Rainforest Rehabilitation Project (Infapro).