KUCHING: World Wide Fund for Nature-Malaysia (WWF) backs the Sarawak government’s move to arm its forest enforcers, and at the same time hopes that an independent third-party auditing system can be put in place to further improve forest management.
WWF Sarawak conservation head Dr Henry Chan said while it is good to better arm enforcers, measures are needed to improve the supply chain of legal timber, and to promote demand for wood coming from responsibly managed forests.
“An independent third-party auditing system will enhance transparency and strengthen the state’s credibility in long-term forest management improvements,” he said in a statement yesterday.
A third-party auditing system, he added, would also increase buyer confidence in the global market.
“Knowing the complexity of the industry, sometimes illegally felled trees make their way into the supply chain,” he noted.
He was responding to Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s recent announcement to issue 50 of the most senior enforcement officers in the state Forestry Department with firearms from this month to check the lack of enforcement in Sarawak’s timber industry.
Dr Chan also suggested getting agencies like the army and police to follow forest officers when they go deep into the interior to create a stronger presence among illegal loggers.
Another non-government organisation, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM), had urged the state government last week to check on the harvest of Tapang logs at Sungai Pelutan.
“The logs are of the Tapang species, which is protected under the Sarawak Wildlife Protection Ordinance as it is rare and an important nesting tree for honey bees,” Sam had said.