KUCHING: The Paulownia tree, a fast growing tree, which can be harvested within a few years, are among the tree species planted in Sarawak through its tree planting initiative.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said the fast growing characteristics of the species were in line with the state government’s target to achieve environmental sustainability.
“This was mentioned in our Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) up to 2030. Secondly, it is a boon to our reforestation policy.
“If we look in terms of its growth, the tree can be harvested in its fourth to fifth year. It will grow naturally and this approach is similar to what we see in Scandinavian countries.
“Their timber industry is based on raw materials derived from planted forests,” he said when officiating at the launch of TSG Green’s RT Paulownia Tissue Culture Laboratory here on Thursday (Nov 18).
The chief minister said the potential of the tree species was being harnessed by TSG Green Sdn Bhd which was the first company to set up a Paulownia lab in Kuching; it would sell and supply Paulownia seedlings throughout Sarawak.
The company aspires to supply to at least 10 percent of 35 million trees the state government hopes to plant by 2025 by working together with Licence Planted Forests (LPF) holders to plant Paulownia trees for reforestation projects.
It also aims to collaborate with smallholders such as the local communities who have the option to plant the Paulownia trees instead of other crops such as palm oil trees.
Abang Johari said besides the Paulownia, other fast growing trees were indigenous to the state.
“But for industrial purposes, this (Paulownia) is more suitable. Maybe there are other species but this is already proven to be able to grow well in our soil using technology and certain fertilisers,” he said.
The chief minister said the tree was also efficient in absorbing carbon dioxide to control the state’s carbon emissions due to the size of its leaves.
“The tree also has many uses Besides timber, it can be used for making furniture and building houses. Its leaves can be used as animal feed; this is in line with our efforts to develop our agriculture sector.
“It can also be used as organic fertilisers which are good for plants. I thank TSG Green for exploring this new approach for us to plant trees.
“We have a target to plant 35 million trees and I see this tree can also be planted by the people in rural areas,” he said.