Malaysia: Preserve forest reserves, Kedah urged

The Star 11 Feb 16;

ALOR SETAR: Over 2,000ha of forest reserves in Kedah have been cleared illegally to make way for new agricultural areas, the state Forestry Department director said.

Ku Azmi Ku Aman said among areas which had undergone serious deforestation for illegal cultivation were Langkawi and Kubang Pasu, where land had been planted with rubber trees on a large scale.

"There are about 300,000ha of forest reserves in the state and if illegal land clearing is not curbed immediately, the forest reserves will be gone," he told reporters yesterday.

He said the locals cleared and cultivated the forests in order to obtain permanent land titles from the state government after cultivating the land for some time.

He said the department would propose to the state government to extend some form of compensation to the illegal settlers so that they would vacate the areas.

"We also monitor the forest reserves constantly with the use of drones,” he said. — Bernama

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