Monday, 4 February 2008

Extend forest project to more areas, ITTO urged

Thursday January 31, 2008 - The Star

Extend forest project to more areas, ITTO urged

MIRI: The International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) has been urged to expand the scope of its forest management and biodiversity conservation projects in the interior of Sarawak.

This follows the success of a pioneer ITTO project in the Bario highlands in northern Sarawak two years ago to get minority natives involved in managing the forests.

Now, more natives from other remote settlements want to learn about forest management techniques and long-term sustainable usage of natural products.

Ba'Kelalan assemblyman Nelson Balang Rining said the pioneer Bario project had turned the Lun Bawangs and Kelabits into partners of forest conservation.

"Two years ago, the ITTO set up a research station in Bario to carry out biodiversity conservation and sustainable forest management projects in the Pulong Tau National Park that reaches all the way to the Sarawak border with Indonesia.

"The local natives in Bario are now full-time forest wardens and national park guides, playing active roles in helping to ensure the national park is fully protected and guarded.
"Not only are the local natives involved in forest management and conservation, they have also ventured into fish-rearing projects.

"The success of this pioneer ITTO project in Bario has prompted natives in Ba'Kelalan and other settlements to express keen interest in having similar projects in their areas as well.
"I hope the ITTO can expand the scope of its involvement to more interior outposts," he said yesterday.