Getting locals involved in protecting forests
Published on: Sunday, March 24, 2019
By: Zam Yusa
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PAPAR: The Sabah Forestry Department inked a MoU with Penampang communities, Saturday, to care for forests in their areas.

The signing ceremony for the pioneering initiative by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal was between the department and community representatives on the sidelines of a national celebration of the International Day of Forests at the Kawang Recreational Forest Sejadi Centre, here.

The project, called Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES), was sealed with Kampungs Kolosunan, Babagon Toki and Tampasak and allows them to work with the department in several areas, said a media handout.

The areas of cooperation are management development of the water catchment areas in the Class 1 Forest Reserve in Kolosunan/Babagon, protection activities, tree planting, access to eco-tourism activities, Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas border marking, Native Customary Right land mapping and other related activities.

“The starting of this project should be hailed. I believe all these efforts will benefit the local communities,” said Shafie.

“I’d like to thank the Forever Sabah project implementer, the Hasanah Foundation [Khazanah Nasional Berhad’s corporate social responsibility arm] and UNDP-GEF [United Nations Development Programme – Global Environmental Finance] for the support given to this project.”

European Union Ambassador to Malaysia Maria Castillo Fernandez, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Jaujan Sambakong, Sabah Chief Conservator of Forests Datuk Mashor Mohd Jaini and his Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia counterparts were among those present during the celebration and signing ceremony.

Mashor said Sabah has about 4.558 million hectares of forests, about 3.54 million of which are designated as Permanent Forest Reserves.

In line with the International Day of Forests which falls on Mar 21, Mashor said the department had carried out tree planting activities in selected areas in its five forest territories located in Sandakan, Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, Kudat and Keningau.

“This programme involved school students and local communities. About 5,000 trees of various species were planted and these activities will be continued,” he said.

“The department will continue field monitoring, rehabilitation and restoration activities especially in degraded Permanent Forest Reserves.

“In the past 10 years, the department and SFMLA [Sabah Forest Management Licence Agreement] licensees have implemented restoration activities involving about 61,000 hectares of forests and planted about 15 million trees of various species.” 

Shafie, Fernandez and other dignitaries and leaders planted trees during the celebration at the Kawang Recreational Forest Sejadi Centre.



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