KOTA KINABALU: Sabah plans to plant at least 36 million trees across the state within the next five years, says Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.
The initiative is part of the state-level campaign to plant 100 million trees under various categories by 2025, he added.
The plan involves forest restoration, forest plantations, rubber plantations as well as fruit tree planting to ensure that Sabah's forest reserves are conserved and maintained.
"We are fully committed to supporting measures to ensure sustainable forest management and conservation," he said on Tuesday (Jan 5).
Hajiji said this at the state-level launch of the Malaysia Greening Programme – 100 million Tree Cultivation Campaign held at the grounds of the Sabah State Administrative Complex (PPNS) here.
Started in 2010, the campaign involves degraded forest reserves that were previously logged or damaged by floods or fires.
"The initiative will help manage the forests more sustainably. The conservation of flora and fauna will also draw tourists to the state," he said in a news release by his office.
"As Chief Minister, I hope people, especially those with land areas, will also join in the campaign to plant trees," he added.
Hajiji said that forests do not only provide health benefits but will also help in the economic development of the state including creating more wood-based downstream industries like furniture-making.
He said the economic spin-offs will also allow the government to carry out infrastructure projects like roads, housing, and water and electricity supplies for the people apart from creating job opportunities.
"Both tourism and timber industries can contribute to state revenues that can be used for socio-economic and infrastructure development of the state," he added.
Deputy Chief Ministers – Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin and Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam – were also present at the launch carried out by the Sabah Forestry Department under chief forest conservator Frederick Kugan.