KOTA KINABALU: The federal government will help Sabah in its restoration of degraded forests as well as carry out fresh surveys on the population of orang utans and Borneo pygmy elephants in the state.
Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said that the her ministry together with the Sabah Forestry Department have identified 6,500ha of degraded forest in the Lower Kawag, Ulu Segama Forests Reserve as the site for reforestation.
“We plan to plant one million forest tree species within the next 10 years,” she told reporters after meeting Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal at his office here Tuesday (April 2).
She said reforestation efforts would be sponsored primarily by oil palm players.
The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) had also donated RM1.5mil for rescue and conservation efforts in Sabah.
“We support the formalisation of the state Wildlife Department’s project that will undertake a new population survey of orang utans and pygmy elephants in Sabah by wildlife experts, scientists and researchers,” said Kok, who has been in Sabah to meet oil palm industry players in the east coast since Friday (March 29).
Kok said that Shafie and other senior state officials were informed of her ministry's plan to work with Sabah on forest restoration and wildlife conservation.
She said that the Cabinet had also capped total oil palm cultivation
area to 6.5 million hectares and stop the planting of oil palm in peat land while tightening regulations on existing cultivations in peat lands.
“We have also banned conversion of forest reserves land for oil palm cultivation and make available oil palm plantation maps for public access,” she added.
“We also sought support from the Sabah state government on the love 'Love MY Palm Oil campaign',” she added.
Shafie said the support given by MPOC for the survey of the wildlife would help boost conservation efforts for the protected animals.
“We will give our cooperation in the conservations efforts,” he said, adding that the state government had undertaken efforts to ensure that the totally protected forests will be 30% while also stepping up reforestation activities.