SANDAKAN: Sabah is embarking on an independent monitoring effort of its forest logging operations, said to be the single such exercise in the country, as part of a full implementation of sustainable forest management in the state.
The state government, through the Sabah Forestry Department, signed a deal Friday with Global Forestry Services (M) Sdn Bhd to conduct independent third party auditing and monitoring in all Natural Forest Management harvesting areas under the Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) approach.
“This statewide independent auditing is arguably the largest such undertaking in the country on logging monitoring, if not South East Asia, which Sabah is proud of," said department director Datuk Sam Mannan after the signing of the agreement.
He said the agreement fell in line neatly with the mandatory directive to all long term licensees to be certified under any credible internationally recognised certification system by 2014.
Mannan said the RIL compliance would be implemented on a progressive scale in its assessment whereby, it is planned for 90% of the compliance standard in 2010 with 100% compliance from 2011 onwards, with training and on the spot improvement continuously.
“As statewide RIL application needs close monitoring and training and many operators and workers are new to the concept, the Forestry Department is nevertheless confident that, competence at a high level, is achievable within the first year of implementation,” he added.
The agreement which covers a period of five years (2010-2014), is equally financed on a 50:50 basis by the State Government and the Yayasan Sabah Group, being the biggest forest licensee in the State, with an area approximately 1mil ha, under its management.
This agreement was an extension of the auditing and monitoring programme over Malua Forest Reserve, also under the Yayasan Sabah Group, which successfully demonstrated and proved the feasibility and viability of RIL in a tropical forest.
The Malua agreement, also concluded with Global Forestry Services (M) Sdn Bhd, covered the period 2006-2007 and all harvesting has since ceased and the area set for conservation.
Malua arguably is the largest model of full RIL Compliance in the tropics.
Building up on this success, the department has now made it mandatory for RIL to be practiced in all Natural Forest Management areas of Forest Reserves in Sabah effective 1 January 2010.
Mannan was the signatory for the State Forestry Department while Global Forestry Services (M) Sdn Bhd was represented by its director Dr Kevin Grace.
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