6.9 mln trees planted as of Nov 9 this year

Datuk Hamden Mohammad

BINTULU: Sarawak Forest Department has managed to plant an additional 6.9 million trees as of Nov 9 this year.

Its director Datuk Hamden Mohammad said the planting of trees was in line with the Malaysia Greening Campaign initiated by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources that aimed to plant 100 million trees nationwide.

“Sarawak targets to plant 35 million trees in the period of five years up to 2025.

“We are confident we can achieve this target because based on our record last year, Sarawak managed to plant 10.4 million trees,” he said at the launch of the “Le Tour De Restoration” (Greening Sarawak’s Campaign) for Bintulu Division level and the Drone Seeding Project held at the Taman Medan Bintulu Centre on Tuesday (Nov 9).

Hamden added that the Greening Sarawak Campaign was also aligned with the country’s greening programme.

“The greening campaign also includes coastal restoration and under this programme, since its implementation from 2006 to Oct 30 this year, we have planted a total of 646,410 saplings consisting of mangrove trees, Casuarina and various other suitable species in an area of 454.12 hectares,” he revealed.

Among the mangrove swamp forest areas that had been restored, he said, were the Selabat Mudflat Nature Reserve in Kuching; Pulau Perpat Nature Reserve in Sematan and Pulau Tun Ahmad Zaidi Nature Reserve in Sibu. All these nature reserves were also gazetted as fully protected areas (TPAs) last year.

Hamden added that SFD had also inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bintulu Development Authority (BDA); both parties would cooperate in implementing various restoration activities through planting conservation and protection of trees in areas under BDA’s jurisdiction for the beautification of the town here.

“SFD and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) have discussed collaborating more on forestry research and strengthening drone seedling technology to speed up planting throughout the state,” he added.

Hamden disclosed that the department would also use existing technological advances such as hyperspectral imaging to identify areas that needed to be restored and replanted.

On Sept 30, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg in Kuching officiated at the launch of the “Le Tour De Restoration” (Greening Sarawak’s Campaign) in Kuching.

The programme aims to increase public awareness of the importance of looking after and preserving the forests, especially by planting trees.

The campaign continued in Sarikei on Oct 7, in Kapit on Oct 11, in Sibu on Oct 18, in Miri on Nov 3 while the next one will be held in Lawas on Nov 13.