Malaysia: Peninsular forestry department optimistic about 5 million-ha forest reserve target

Bernama New Straits Times 21 Dec 17;

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is confident of achieving its target of five million hectares of permanent forest reserve land by 2020, said Peninsular Malaysia Forestry Department director-general Datuk Nor Akhirrudin Mahmud.

At present, the land size for permanent forest reserve land was 4.9 million hectares, he said.

Nor Akhirrudin said various efforts had and were being made to ensure the remaining target of one million hectares would be achieved.

“This is a good figure for the peninsula and it is the target of our department. Among the trees we plant are the meranti, damar, medang and kelat,” he said in a press conference held after the department’s family day here today.

Commenting further, Nor Akhirrudin said the target could be achieved through mapping projects of the forest areas using satellites and drones to identify the areas with potential as permanent forest reserves.

“We will submit a proposal paper to the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department in March and we hope this project can be implemented at the latest by next year,” he said.

He said the department was in the midst of implementing land restorative programmes in three areas which were affected by erosion, namely Cameron Highlands, Lembangan Sungai Kelantan and Janda Baik.

Under the 11th Malaysia Plan for the five-year period from 2016 to 2020, the government has allocated RM100 million for rehabilitation and restoration of forest areas in the peninsula.

Nor Akhirrudin said the department was also working with other parties including government agencies, the private sector and non-governmental organisations in its efforts to restore forest area. - Bernama

Dept aims to expand forest reserves
The Star 22 Dec 17;

KEPONG: The Forestry Department wants to use drones and satellite images to map new areas which can be identified as potential additions to the country’s permanent forest reserve in 2018, said the department’s (Peninsular Malaysia) director-general Datuk Nor Akhirrudin Mahmud.

“Ground personnel will also be deployed for the mapping prog­ramme to identify forest areas outside of permanent forest reserve areas,” he said after attending a get-together with the department staff at the Forestry Training Centre here yesterday.

He said the department would submit the proposal for the mapping programme to the Government by March.

“The mapping and replanting of trees are being carried out towards increasing the permanent forest reserve area,” Nor Akhirrudin said.

Malaysia currently has 4.9 million hectares of permanent forest reserves, which the department aims to increase to five million hectares by 2020.