Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Sabah seeks technical and financial help to conserve forests

Personal note: Having destroyed their own forests and in doing so made some people obscenely wealthy, they would now like the US and EC to pay for re-forestation. Sound crazy to you? If the past is anything to go by the stupid, ignorant bureaucrats at the EC will probably give them the money.

Tuesday October 27, 2009

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is hoping to get more technical and financial assistance from foreign governments, non-governmental orga-nisations and companies to further improve environmental and forest conservation efforts in the state.

“Of course we would like our friends from the US and European Council to come and help conserve the forests,” said Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman.

He said the state, through the Sabah Forestry Department, was using all the resources at its disposal to conserve vast tracts of remaining forests – even to the extent of halting logging operations in an area about 10 times the size of Penang island.

“Our forestry officers have done a good job. The department (Forestry Department) is serious and committed and yet not many people are coming forward to help us.

“More appreciation should be accorded for what we are doing,” Musa said after launching a regional forum on Enhancing Forest Ecosystems, Connectivity and Corridors within the Heart of Borneo in Sabah.”

The Heart of Borneo (HoB) encompasses some 240,000sq km of rainforests within Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and the Indonesian provinces of East, West and Central Kaliman-tan.

Musa lauded Japanese conglomerate Itochu Corporation for contributing RM4.25mil to restore 967ha of degraded forests in the northern portion of the Ulu Segama forest reserve, an orangutan habitat. The restoration work is jointly done by the Sabah government and WWF-Malaysia.

Musa also said he was grateful to the Federal Government for the RM5mil contribution to kick start the HoB initiative within the state under the Ninth Malaysia Plan with further financial allocations under the 10th Plan.

Earlier, the Sabah Forestry director Datuk Sam Mannan signed a five year memorandum of understanding with PPB Palm Oil Palms Bhd for the management of nearly 383ha of river reserves along the Sungai Segama.

Musa said studies have shown that Sabah is home to about 11,000 orangutans, 30 to 40 Sumatran rhinos and some 2,300 Borneo pygmy elephants.

“This iconic wildlife will slowly cease to exist if forests or their natural habitats are further fragmented. Forest connectivity and corridors are crucial to their survival,” he said.