Monday, 3 August 2009

Nearly half of Sabah is protected forest

Published: Monday August 3, 2009 The Star, Malaysia

KOTA KINABALU: Nearly half of Sabah’s 7.6 million hectare land area is now under permanent forest cover following amendments to a state law that has seen the creation of 12 new forest reserves.

Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Nasrun Datu Mansor said at the state assembly that 3.6 million ha were now preserved as forests – ranging from the unique Karangas jungles in the south western Sipitang districts to mangroves at islands along the east coast.

“It is our intention to leave our forests untouched as much as possible for our future generations,” he said.

In this regard, he said, Sabah has exceeded the national forestry policy requiring the states to preserve 47% of their land under forest cover.

Tabling the amendments to the Forests (Constitution of Forest Reserves and Amendment) Enactment 1984, Nasrun said the acreage of Class 1 Forest Reserves had been increased by more than 22,000ha, nearly the size of Penang island.

He said the state now had more than 3.6 million ha of such forests compared to about 3.5 million ha previously.

Nasrun said the size of mangrove and virgin forests had also increased by 4,647ha and 486ha respectively following the amendments.

The state now had more than 320,000ha of mangrove forests while its virgin jungle reserves now stood at more than 92,000ha.

The size of forest reserves for recreational use had also increased by 344ha to more than 21,000ha.

Nasrun said Sabah was also reducing the size of commercial forest reserves by 17,594ha from 2.63 million ha so that the acreage for the Class 1 Forest Reserves could be increased.