Permanent forest reserve: Dept targets 6 million hectares

State Forestry Director Hamden Mohammad (fourth left) showing the 100th Year Sarawak Forestry Department logo to the media during its launching ceremony at Wisma Sumber Alam in Petra Jaya, Kuching. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: State Forestry Department (FDS) is determined to increase the permanent forest reserve (HSK) areas from 4.3 million hectares to six million hectares.

To achieve this, FDS will carry out a massive Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) programme throughout the state by re-opening their nurseries in Kuching, Sibu, Niah and also Lawas which will cater for local/indigenous species.

“This programme, which will be coordinated by FDS, will involve all stakeholders. The Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has also agreed to allocate a huge amount of fund for us to buy the seedlings.

“Apart from that, we will continue our efforts to gazette the government’s forest areas as HSK,” said FDS director Hamden Mohammad during the launch of FDS new logo in conjunction with its 100th anniversary.

He said in order to ensure that the forest is well-managed, the FDS will see to it that all long-term forest timber licences (F30) must achieve forest management certification by 2022.

According to Hamden, the certification is important to enable the timber produced in the state can penetrate the international market.

“So far, a total of 561,703 hectares of natural forest areas comprising 347,862 hectares of HSK and 213,841 hectares of state land have been certified.

“In addition, an area of 101,030.06 hectares of forest plantations in Sarawak has also been certified.

“Before 2018, only 83,000 hectares of natural forest areas were certified. We have been working really hard last year to ensure that our natural forests are certified,” he explained.

Elaborating, he said the FDS will coordinate a systematic forest management using the latest forest technologies such as Compact Airborne Tactical (CAT), Hyperspectral, drones and so on.

The development of this technology is not only aimed at empowering enforcement (especially detection), but will be used to develop R&D to produce high quality of local seedlings, resistant to disease and can be harvested in a short time.

“We will also develop technologies such as GIS, REVLOG and so on to monitor forest products more accurately,” he said.

In addition, the department is also committed to ensuring that rural populations, especially those living inside and outside the HSK, will benefit from this policy.

“In line with this, we have designed a range of community development activities through the social forestry programme. They will be guided to reduce dependence on forest resources and to improve their skills in agriculture, handicraft production and so on,” added Hamden.

Meanwhile, commenting on the department’s new logo, he said it was selected by the Chief Minister through a competition organised by the department.