KOTA KINABALU: The RM6mil allocation for the Heart of Borneo initiative will be focused on the conservation of forests and proper land use management purposes, says state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Arifin.
He said that the allocation by the Federal Government under the 12th Malaysia Plan for the initiatives under the Heart of Borneo (HOB) Declaration covers an area of about 6.8 million hectares, of which about 61% or 4.2 million hectares were within Sabah.
He said the funding would be used for biodiversity conservation within various forest reserves as well as for protection and management of forests within the state.
“The state government is still committed towards achieving 30% or 2.1 million hectares of total protected forest cover by 2025, ” he said, adding that efforts were ongoing to rehabilitate damaged forests through restoration programmes.
Under the HOB initiative, which started in 2008, the state government has so far received allocations of RM54mil under the Ninth to 11th Malaysia Plans (9MP to 11MP). The money was channelled to the state Forestry Department.
Jafry said that from the 9MP to 11MP, Sabah had been able to put 1.1 million hectares of forest under total protection while also building 22 outposts in hotspots within HOB areas.
To date, 26,000ha of degraded forests have been rehabilitated and scientific expeditions have been carried out at 36 forest reserves in the state, which has also hosted 10 international seminars, talks and workshops on conservation, he added.
Other initiatives were the setting up of the Tawai Rainforest Camp and the Centre of Sabah, and also studies on other forests reserves.