Malaysia committed to ensuring at least half of country is covered with forests

Shamsul (left) with Aranols planting a tree for the Nestle RELeaf project in Taman Rimba Alam in Putrajaya on Sept 21, 2020. – Bernama

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is committed to ensuring that at least half of the country’s land area is covered with forests and trees, says the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry.

Its minister Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah said this was in line with a pledge the country made back in 1992 during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"The forest is a precious natural asset that has important roles in many aspects. It provides a supply of clean water, it produces oxygen for our survival, it is an important habitat for millions of flora and fauna, and it also gives a balance to the ecosystem from global warming.

"Malaysia is committed to maintaining at least 50% of the country’s land area with forest and tree cover.

"At present, Malaysia’s forest cover is at 55.31% with an area of 18.27 million hectares, ” said Shamsul Anuar, during the launch of Nestle (Malaysia) Berhad’s "RELeaf” Project here.

The Lenggong MP also said protecting Malaysia’s forests would help to mitigate climate change.

"Forests significantly provide 30% of the solution to climate change. With more than 50% forest and tree cover, Malaysia’s forest can help to limit the rise in global temperature to below two degrees celsius, ” he said.

Shamsul Anuar said as an important natural resource to the socio-economy as well as the environment, it is vital for forests to be protected and managed with proper planning and wisdom.

"In Malaysia, the practice of sustainable forest management will always become a major component of all forestry sectors in every state.

"The country is also seeing more forests becoming recreational spots and ecotourism products, ” said Shamsul Anuar.

Also present at the launch was Nestle (Malaysia) Berhad chief executive officer Juan Aranols.

The minister applauded Nestle’s efforts to come up with a programme to restore degraded forest areas with the target to plant three million trees across the country.

"This initiative, I was informed, aims to ensure a sustainable future for all as well as fulfilling its ambition to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the global level.

"This project will also definitely complement the government’s 2021-2025 100 million trees planting campaign.

"I hope more groups from the public and private sector will follow Nestle in protecting our valuable forests, ” he said.

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