SAMARAHAN: A total of 3,500 engkabang trees and other local species have been planted within the five hectares of allocated Aeon FLR Adoption Block in Sabal Forest Reserve in Simunjan here.

According to State Forest Department (FDS) director Datuk Hamden Mohammad, the Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) is being widely promoted as a solution to the global loss and degradation of the world’s forests which Sarawak is a part of.

“The state government from this year onwards will enrich the logged-over areas with high value timber species, especially in degraded areas within permanent forest estates.

“This is to ensure that Sarawak’s forest remains vibrant and its complex eco-system could carry out its natural functions,” he said when officiating at the opening ceremony of the tree planting programme with Aeon Group, Redeems, Sakta 4WD and Triton Club.

Hamden noted that under the FLR Programme, FDS has taken immediate action to revive three nurseries at Sabal Agroforestry Centre, Sarawak Tree Improvement Centre at Oya Road Sibu and Forest Research Station Niah which currently has some 300,000 seedlings of indigenous species.

“As the agency overseeing upstream forest ecosystem matters, FDS is engaging with all stakeholders especially those Timber and Planted Forest Licensees, National and International Corporate Partners and the general public to participate in this FLR in the state.

“I have issued directive for Restoration Programme within all timber licence areas in January 2019 and for them to comply with FMU Certification by 2022,” he added.

The tree planting programme was held to commemorate Aeon’s new Sarawak Regional Office in Icom Square, Kuching opening to their customers on this coming Dec 30.

Tree planting has been a tradition for Aeon Group of Companies in Malaysia where Aeon Credit Service (ACSB) and Aeon Company Malaysia Berhad had organised numerous tree planting events countrywide such as in Paya Indah Wetlands (45,000 trees); Firefly Habitat Reforestation, Selangor (10,000 trees); Orang Utan Habitat Rehabilitation Programme in Lahad Datu, Sabah (10,000 trees) and Bidor Forest Research Institute Malaysia Research Station Reforestation Programme (30,000 trees).

Next week, 50 volunteers, including from Aeon Credit Service Sabah branches, will be planting 150 mangrove trees at Kota Kinabalu Wetlands Area in Sabah.

Also present were ACSB chief business officer Ajith Jayaram; Ministry of Urban Development and Natural Resource Head of Special Taskforce Team for Combating Illegal Logging, retired Lt-Gen Datuk Stephen Mundaw; FDS acting deputy director Abang Ahmad Abg Morni; ACSB Public Relations general manager Faizul Hamzah; ACSB East Malaysia Region manager Tang Yuk Wan; and Forest Restorer Azahari Omar.