KUCHING: Sarawak Timber Association (STA) fully supports the Sarawak government’s decision to form a special task force committee to conduct thorough investigation on the recent logjam incident and find solutions to minimise the risks of it happening again in the future.
“STA will give its best to assist the Sarawak government to mitigate the issues by being part of the task force,” STA said on Friday (Aug 27).
STA expressed its deep concern on the negative portrayal of the forest industry in the logjam incident and the impact it could have on the forest industry’s reputation.
“More so on its ripple effects resulting in loss of jobs which will affect the livelihood of the people of Sarawak.”
In this regard, STA urged all stakeholders to engage and contribute collectively to overcome such challenges.
It also highlighted the difference between salvage logging and selective logging, explaining that salvage logging is approved to minimise the loss of commercial timber in the area which will be submerged.
It emphasised that salvage logging is only carried out for government approved projects such as development of hydroelectric dams.
“It is not a common practice under normal harvesting where selective logging is carried out, and STA wishes to highlight that STA members are using their best endeavours to manage the forests in their concessions in accordance with international standards.”
STA also expressed its gratitude to Forest Department Sarawak (FDS) and other agencies for carrying out speedy preliminary ground verification and aerial surveillance in connection with the reported logjam, and confirming that the logjam was caused by the wood debris being pushed into the river by the heavy and prolonged downpour of rain and accumulating at the Baleh Hydroelectric dam site.
“This has created an outcry by various parties and blame has been put solely on the timber companies carrying timber harvesting operation in the Forest Timber Licences within the Baleh Catchment upstream of the Baleh dam site.
“STA wishes to clarify that the timber harvesting operation within the Baleh Catchment is carried out only after approval has been given by FDS and permits issued.”