KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will have one of the nation’s single largest conservation area which is nearly 24 times the size of Penang island.
State Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan said the conservation area of nearly 700,000ha would encompass Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon.
He said this was made possible after the state government upgraded more than 112,000ha of biodiversity rich lowland forests to Class I protection forest reserves last month.
“We have what is arguably the biggest totally protected areas in one conservation block in Malaysia,” he said.
Mannan said this conservation block also included 70,000ha of the Kuamut Forest Reserve.
“That area is also being assessed for a carbon offset project,” he added.
The remaining portion of the Kuamut forest reserve totalling just over 47,000ha, where parts were undergoing reduced impact logging harvesting, would eventually be added to this conservation region.
Operations there would cease on Dec 31, 2018, and this area would then become part of the further enlarged protected area, he said.
Mannan said Sabah’s totally protected area was now nearly 1.8 million hectares or 24% of the state’s landmass.
“This is in compliance with the Government’s policy to have 30% of Sabah under its totally protected area by 2025,” he said.
He said Sabah’s conservation areas had increased significantly since 2003 when Datuk Seri Musa Aman took over as chief minister.
The exemplary actions of the state government, driven by the chief minister, would give Sabah a unique advantage in world tropical forest management, he added.
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