KUCHING: Sarawak is making progress towards getting all long-term forest timber licence areas in the state certified by 2022, says state Forest Department director Hamden Mohammad.
He said this was part of the state government’s commitment to ensure that forests and forest resources are managed in a sustainable manner.
To date, four out of 21 forest management units (FMUs) in Sarawak had obtained forest management certification, covering a total area of 423,917ha, he said.
“Ten years ago, we only had one area in Bintulu, the Anap Muput FMU, covering about 84,000ha, which was certified.
“Within the last two or three years, we managed to have another three FMUs certified.
“We hope that a lot more forest areas can be certified in the next two or three years,” he told reporters after opening the Kuba’an-Puak FMU project finale workshop here yesterday.
Hamden said timber companies were responsive towards the certification policy and were working hard to get their FMUs certified.
He also said a decision would be made after 2022 whether to revoke or cancel the licences of those who did not certify their areas.
“Once we reach 2022, we will see what to do after that,” he added.
Earlier, in his speech, Hamden said the Borlin FMU in the Kuba’an-Puak area in Ulu Tutoh, Baram, would undergo certification by 2020.
He said the Kuba’an-Puak project, a collaboration between the Forest Department, WWF-Malaysia and other stakeholders, started in 2014 as a pilot project for sustainable forest management.
“Through this project, the local communities, especially the Penan, will manage the forests of Kuba’an-Puak in a sustainable manner,” he added.
WWF-Malaysia’s Sarawak conservation director Jason Hon said the Kuba’an-Puak project showed that strong collaboration between multiple partners was crucial for sustainable forest management.
“Government agencies, local communities, businesses and civil societies should work together towards a common goal of promoting sustainable forest management, good governance and co-stewardship of our natural resources,” Hemden said.