Malaysia: Sustainable logging at vast tracts of Sarawak forests

The Star 4 May 15;

PETALING JAYA: Some six million hectares of forests in Sarawak - about half the size of the state - will be logged sustainably.

Sarawak Forestry Department director Sapuan Ahmad said the logging area is under the larger seven million hectare zone, reserved as the state’s forests.

“Of Sarawak’s 12.4 million hectare-size jungles, seven million is for forestry and 5.4 million hectares for agriculture or settlements,

“Six million (hectares) is under sustainable logging and one million will not be logged,” he told The Star.

Sapuan said he was not worried about deforestation in Sarawak, adding that oil palm growing and other matters would be within the 5.4 million-hectare area.

“This means Sarawak will have more than half of its land area remain as forests,” he said when asked to comment on the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) report on global deforestation.

Data from the World Bank showed that as of 2014, 34.1% of Canada’s total land was forest, compared with 61.7% of Malaysia.

Sustainable logging means that an area can be allowed to be logged in such a way that there would always be enought trees for people to cut later.

It is the opposite of clear-cutting, which may see vast areas of forests felled in one go.

The island of Borneo has been listed as one of 11 major deforestation fronts worldwide.

Last year, the Sarawak government launched a major crackdown against illegal logging activities in the state.

It has also increased the penalty for illegal timber exports in April from a RM50,000 fine to RM500,000 fine and also longer jail terms for offenders.

Sarawak had in the past came under fire for large-scale deforestation.