Datuk Hamden Mohammad

TIMBER, TIMBER PRODUCTS

KUCHING: Sarawak will have sufficient raw materials to cater for its timber industry including for exports by 2030.

The state Forest Department Sarawak (FDS), however said this would only become a reality if its plan to develop forest plantations goes on smoothly.

According to the department, since the beginning of 2020, it had been focusing on the development of forest plantations as well as ensuring that certification is obtained.

The department noted that the overseas market is prioritising timber and timber products which are extracted from forest plantations as well as obtaining forest management certification to sustain the industry in their respective countries.

“Sarawak, which has about 1.6 million hectares of NCR land, could be developed as forest plantations to plant a variety of tree species that are fast growing and resistant to diseases,” said FDS director Datuk Hamden Mohammad in a statement yesterday.

He added that at the department level, in addition to developing nursery sites to supply quality seedlings, the department also welcomed the involvement of various parties to conduct research and development (R&D) and ensuring the success of its forest restoration programme.

In addition, the department requires all licensees to obtain forest management certification for their respective concessions.  To date, 10 licensed areas covering 955,676 hectares have been certified.

Hamden recently visited a forest plantation located in Ulu Awik, Saratok to look at its comprehensive forest plantation programme. 

“The forest plantation is jointly owned by Salam Serimas Sdn Bhd along with 40 local residents in the Ulu Awik area on their NCR land.

“Of the 390-hectare area, 210 hectares have been planted with the fast-growing species of Batai (scientific name – Albizia falcatasppa spp).

“Based on a growth rate of 95 percent with a circumference of 30 centimetres over a 4-year period, the trees will be ready to harvest between 6 and 7 years,” he said in the statement.

The statement also said that two successful forest plantation areas have been developed at Kaki Wong Mapar in Saratok, by Wong Forests Plantation Sdn Bhd along with 80 residents of Rumah Josephine Entira covering a total of 350 hectares.