Malaysia: 'No environmental impact from logging in Ulu Muda Forest Reserve' - Kedah Forestry

EMBUN MAJID New Straits Times 29 Jan 18;

ALOR STAR: Kedah Forestry Department has completed a study on the impact of logging on the environment in the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve.

The report carried out last week followed claims that the activities had polluted water sources in the area.

A spokesman from the department told New Straits Times today that the findings from the study had been submitted to the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and the state government.

Without giving details of the findings, the spokesman said it showed that the logging activities did not cause any environmental impact including land erosion or water pollution.

He said tests on water samples from a river in the forest reserve showed that there was no pollution.

“We have one water quality station in Ulu Muda forest reserve and each time logging activity is carried out, we will conduct a test on the water quality to check for pollution.

“We are planning to open two new water stations in the forest reserve to carry out more tests in future to detect for any pollution,” he said.

The spokesman said the department was not compromising with any offences under the National Forestry Act including illegal logging, logging in buffer zone and encroachment.

He said from January until December last year, the department recorded 30 cases of illegal logging activities in the state.

“We issued many compounds to loggers who had breached their licence including felling trees close to the buffer zone.

“Last year, we collected a total of RM1.3 million in compounds,” he said.

Between 2008 and 2016, he said the size of land that was allowed to be logged in the state decreased from 184,831ha to 134,370ha.

The department also increased the size of protected forest by 31 per cent from 157,781ha in 2008 to 207,606ha in 2016.

“So far we have gazetted 27 per cent of the 110,000ha proposed as a catchment area and the remaining areas will be gazetted in stages.

“The process is time consuming because it involves various procedure but the catchment area that we have is protected from any encroahment,” he said.