Malaysia: SAM hits out at rampant logging at Gunung Besout

The Star 8 Aug 15;

IPOH: Rampant logging in the Gunung Besout forest reserve near Sungkai has destroyed the eco-system there, claimed Sahabat Alam Malaysia president S.M. Mohamed Idris.

He alleged that creeks had eroded and rivers filled with silt, causing the water to be polluted by suspended solids and waste from deforestation.

Hillside erosion had also occurred due to the destruction of the forest on the steep hills by logging companies harvesting wood without discrimination, he claimed.

Mohamed Idris said the forest reserve was one of the last remaining natural habitats for wildlife, so its destruction was a concern.

“The destruction of forests for plantation-scale agricultural purposes in parts of the forest reserve is causing erosion and damaging creeks and streams, resulting in the deposition of mud,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He noted that the forest reserve was established on Nov 21, 1915, and some 3,178ha had been logged since 2010.

Mohamed Idris said SAM was worried that the exploitation of the forest reserve would affect its ability to supply raw water to the Gunung Besout water treatment plant.

The exploitation and destruction of the area could also impact the virgin jungle reserve (VJR).

“One of the rules concerning a VJR is that it should be located in a permanent forest reserve and surrounded by a managed forest, but the forest cover around Gunung Besout has been exploited and destroyed,” he said.