THE gazetted Mangrove Forest Conservation Area in Sarawak should be increased by 30 per cent of the Total Protected Area (TPA), which is over 930 hectares, within the next two years.
In suggesting this, Azizul Annuar Adenan (GPS-Tanjong Datu) pointed out that an area of 3,100 hectares along the coastline in Lundu District from Rambungan to Sematan was covered by mangrove forest.
He noted that only 307 hectares, which is slightly less than 10 per cent of the total areas, were under the category of Forest Reserves and Fully Protected Areas while the rest of the 2,013 hectares (65 per cent) were on State Land or Private Title Land.
He said 780 hectares (25 per cent) of the total mangrove forest in the area had been licensed for the production of logs.
“I was informed that there are suspicious logging activities and encroachment in the mangrove forests in my constituency…these have negative impacts on the environment.
“Unregulated or unapproved harvesting of mangrove contributes to riverbank erosion in some areas such as in Kampung Sampadi, Rambungan, Pugu, Tanah Hitam and Trusan Jaya.
“While I am not against economic livelihood of the locals, stressing on the importance of mangrove to the overall ecosystem, I propose that the gazetted Mangrove Forest Conservation Area should be increased.”
He said this during the motion of appreciation to the Head of State (TYT) Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud on Friday (May 20).
Azizul highlighted that the mangrove plant could also be a source of carbon stock for Sarawak thus the TPA could be further increased in the years to come and as the need arises.
He assured that he would be putting his best effort to assist the relevant authority to ensure that the required percentage of TPA was achieved.
“It would be my vision that Mangrove Forest Conservation Areas in my constituency can be designated as a RAMSAR site (a wetland designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention or The Convention on Wetlands) in the near future.
“I will endeavour to offer my fullest cooperation in the pursuit.”