Committed to less invasive logging methods

Cammeart delivers his speech via Zoom.

KUCHING: The Forest Department Sarawak (FDS) is committed to ensuring that the revised Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) guideline for Sarawak is on par with international standards.

Its director Datuk Hamden Mohammad said the department had developed a guideline on RIL in 1999 based on the experience gained from two international collaboration projects — the Model Forest Management Area (MFMA) with the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) in 1993 to1996, and Forest Management Information System (FOMISS) with the Malaysian-German Technical Cooperation in 1995 to 2001.

“With these two projects, we have come up with a very comprehensive guideline for RIL in Sarawak which we are using now.

“We have asked all licensees in Sarawak to comply with the guideline, but we want to ensure that it is on par with international standards,” he said in a press conference after launching a sharing session on ‘Revised Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) Guidelines for Sarawak’ at Imperial Hotel today.

He said as such on March 27, the department had signed a letter of agreement (LoA) with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to implement a project called ‘A Gap Assessment of the Harmonized Reduced Impact Logging Guidelines in support of the Sustainable Forest Management in Sarawak’.

Hamden (right) receives a souvenir from Abang Ahmad.

This project is supported by the European Union Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (EU FLEGT) programme and in partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Malaysia.

“There are some gaps here and there that we need to rectify and further studies are still needed on these areas. But overall, the standard that we have now is acceptable by the global community,” he said.

He hoped that through the collaboration with FAO, the department’s efforts in continuously improving forest management practices would be acknowledged and supported.

Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) is defined as an intensively planned and carefully controlled implementation of timber harvesting operations that support the goal of sustainable forest management while promoting operational efficiency and economic viability.

The scope of RIL covers all pre-harvesting activities, felling of trees, extraction of the logs to the log landing inside the logging block and the loading of the logs to the logging trucks for transportation to the Collection and Distribution Centre (CDC).

Earlier on, FAO- EU FLEGT Programme’s Asia and the Pacific Regional Office forestry officer Bruno Cammaert, in his speech live via Zoom, said FAO is pleased to be able to support Sarawak in its revision of the RIL guideline.

“I have sent the revised RIL guideline to FAO Forest Department in Rome and my colleagues from the department has confirmed that the revised guideline does follow international practices, not just from a content point of view but also in terms of stakeholder’s involvement,” he said.

He said he believed the implementation of the revised guideline will have a significant impact on sustainable forest management in Sarawak.

Also present was FDS deputy director Abang Ahmad Abang Morni.