KUCHING: The Forest Department Sarawak (FDS) and Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) have been told to work closely together in looking after the forest and environment in the state.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said there will be many physical developments in the coming years which could affect the forest landscape, and that the two agencies are expected to play their respective roles so that these developments will not jeopardise environmental integrity and forest sustainability.
“The timber players too need to leverage on environment-friendly or green technologies to mitigate these environmental risks and to ensure ecological sustainability,” he said during the Forest Department Sarawak’s 100th year anniversary gala dinner at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex on Friday night.
He said the Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance 1958 was amended with the objective of strengthening the regulatory mechanism for sustainable management of natural resources and the protection of environmental quality in Sarawak.
Also present at the dinner were the Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and his wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib.
Abang Johari thanked Taib for playing a leading role in ensuring the state’s forest and forest resources are managed in a sustainable manner with the assistance of bodies such as the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO).
FDS director Datuk Hamden Mohammad said this year, the Forest Landscape Restoration programme has become the state government’s main agenda.
“Throughout the years, rehabilitation of the natural forests had been carried out at degraded areas caused by shifting cultivation and encroachment of our Permanent Forest Estate (PFE).
“Over 90,000 hectares had been rehabilitated and enriched with various local species,” he said.
On the contribution of the forestry sector to the state’s revenue, Hamden said over the 30 years from 1988 to 2018, it has contributed significantly to the state revenue at RM650 million annually from royalty, cess and premium of log production.
“We are proud that after a century of establishment, the Forest Department is still standing strong in managing our forest resources sustainably to ensure that it will continuously contributes to the prosperity of the people in Sarawak,” he said.