Creating more value out of existing forest reserves

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THE definition of amenity forests for education, research and recreational purposes is a good move to create more value out of existing forest reserves.

This was said by Rolland Duat Jubin (GPS-Meluan) while debating in support of the introduction of Forests (Amendment) Bill 2022.

According to him, the said amenity would enable Sarawak to promote more research and development activities that focused on how to elevate the value and to optimise the state’s forest produce.

“Not to mention, the inclusion of recreational purposes in the definition of amenity forest will unlock the tourism potentials of our permanent forests.

“This in turn will attract more domestic and international eco-tourists who want to experience the beauty of our forests and it will produce more spillover effects on the local economy,” he said during debate time on the Bill today.

Rolland urged the related ministry and departments to find the best mechanism to make sure that the implementation of this policy would include the local communities’ participation.

“The local community may participate in ecotourism related activities by providing tour guide services, homestay accommodation, local food preparations, cultural performances and so on.

“They must be involved directly in order to create the sense of belonging in these forests. That is why, in order to succeed (on this matter), all programmes must take into account local community participation.”

He commended the timely introduction of the Bill. “To regulate and elevate our forest management practices is not just to prove that we are managing our forest the right way but it is to show that as the responsible government, it is our obligation to address the adverse impact of climate change.”

“In line with this, our goals should be to achieve net zero carbon emission. That is, any emissions by our industries and other economic activities would be balanced by the creation of carbon stocks in our permanent forests to offset an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere,” he stressed.

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