KOTA KINABALU: Studies have suggested that Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) increase carbon storage in tropical forests with a net effect of 54 tonnes of carbon per hectare.
With Sabah’s 2.6 million hectares of commercial forest reserves on which Sustainable Forest Management is practised, it translates to about 140 million tonnes of enhanced carbon, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
“So with a conservative price of USD5 to USD8 per tonne of carbon, the potential value of carbon in Sabah may range from USD680 million to USD1.2 billion,” he said when officiating at the international conference on “Forest and Climate Change – Decoding and Realising REDD-plus in the Heart of Borneo (HoB) with specific focus on Sabah” here yesterday.
In his speech that was delivered by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Musa said the development of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) and REDD-plus was timely in enhancing forest carbon stocks and as such, there are opportunities in Sabah for carbon enhancement through forest management, regeneration or rehabilitation.
Through Sabah Foundation, the state government has pioneered the INFAPRO Carbon Sequestration Project with FACE The-Future and Carbon RIL (Reduced Impact Logging) with New England Power, he said, adding that the two projects have respectively demonstrated the potential of sequestering 35 tonnes of carbon for every hectare through enrichment planting and halving potential carbon emissions due to improve logging techniques.
He stressed that as part of the Heart of Borneo (HoB), the development of Sabah has a crucial role to play in global efforts of enhancing forest carbon stocks.
“Having designated about 3.9 million hectares for HoB, the implementation of a REDD-plus mechanism in Sabah will help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation as well as increase the role of conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
“It will also be useful for economic and social development by including local communities through REDD-plus programmes and activities,” he said.
However, Musa lamented despite the knowledge, none of the initiatives have actually turned into real transactions from carbon revenue.
Sabah, he stressed is interested to explore how implementing REDD-plus can help realise its carbon potential and increasing the value of forests while addressing climate change.
This was especially crucial to Sabah given the now evident impending decline of revenue from the timber sector, he said and pointed out that the state is hard pressed to demonstrate and to realise tangible benefits of maintaining its forest reserves as well as protected areas because if it fails to do so, their sustainability will come under threat.
“As such I hope this two-day conference will help us decode what REDD-plus is about and help us learn what can be implemented on the ground in terms of policing, governance and the many other technical requirements.
“I hope participants will be able to contribute in our efforts to map out Sabah’s strategy in relation to this issue as the state government looks forward to recommendations from this conference and will do its level best to facilitate enabling environments to realise REDD-plus in Sabah,” he said.
Musa added that the four Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) signed between Sabah Forestry Department and the Rhino and Forest Fund E.V, Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society, Girl Guides Association Malaysia Sabah Branch, Sandakan District and WWF-GFTN are evidence that the state government walks the talk.