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SOS Rhino : In the News : Sabah Expands SFN Concept To Ulu Segama, Malua Forest Reserves
 

Sabah Expands SFN Concept To Ulu Segama, Malua Forest Reserves

  March 15, 2006 16:15 PM
Bernama.com
Malaysian National News Agency
http://www.bernama.com.my

KOTA KINABALU, March 15 (Bernama) -- The state cabinet has approved the expansion of the Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) concept, pioneered in Deramakot Forest Reserve, to cover the whole Ulu Segama Reserve, Malua Forest Reserve and part of Ulu Kalumpang forest reserve, effective this month.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said following the decision of the cabinet, harvesting of timber, which first commenced in the early 1960's in Ulu Segama during the colonial era and Malua in the 1970's, would be phased out by Dec 31, 2007.

"After that, there will be no felling of timber...so this area will be reserved for future generation," he told reporters after chairing the weekly state cabinet meeting at Wisma Innoprise, here Wednesday.

The Ulu Segama Reserve covers 203,080 hectares, Malua Forest Reserve 33,969 hectares and Ulu Kalumpang Forest reserve 51,118 hectares - a vital catchment area in Tawau, he said.

Towards this end, Musa said a forest management planning team led by the Forestry Department in collaboration with the long term licensee, Yayasan Sabah, had been entrusted to commence the planning process.

The thrust, he said, would be natural forest management (NFM), given the high bio-diversity and high conservation value of the area, being the heartland of Sabah's orang utan population.

Citing figures, he said the last census of 2002-2003 by the Wildlife Department, gave an estimate of some 1,100 orang utans in Malua and in excess of 3,300 in Ulu Segama or about 35 per cent of Sabah's total orang utan population.

Musa said the state government was also pleased with the recent visit by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), in relation to the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP), which praised Sabah for its far-sighted policies in protecting bio-diversity, principally the orang utan.

He said the management team, entrusted with the stewardship responsibility over Ulu Segama and Malua, would bring in and invite assistance from all interested parties and stakeholders including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Hutan (French NGO), the Sabah Society and local community representatives in the planning process. "

The state government will not compromise its stewardship responsibility in environment. We reached this decision today (state cabinet meeting) where the government is bent on expanding sustainable forest management in addition to Maliau Basin and Danum Valley. "

The protected area now is close to one million hectares...this is our way of protecting forest and we are happy with WWF which is very supportive of our efforts," he added.

Meanwhile, WWF Malaysia Executive Director Datuk Dr Mikaail Kavanagh commended the Sabah government for the SFM's initiative, especially in protecting the orang utan.

"I think this is one of the major initiatives by the Borneo government which concerns the crucial conservation area which has some of the richest forests in Borneo. "It is a place where you have orang utan, pigmy elephant and rhinoceros..this is practically a good idea that will encourage others to follow suit but you can't do this alone and it needs support globally and this is where WWF will try to assist," he said.

Dr Mikaail said the Sabah government's move to expand the SFM concept was appropriate and timely, saying "this is something that Malaysia will report in next week's International Biodiversity Conference in Brazil."

-- BERNAMA





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