Wednesday, December 2

Technological changes and planted forest to meet increasing demand for timber


KUCHING: Forestry is headed towards major technological changes to meet the need for increased forest productivity as it faces rising global demands for forest products, said Sarawak Forestry managing director and CEO Datu Len Talif.

According to a FAO World Bank Development report, the global demand for wood products is projected to increase from 3.5 billion m3 in 1990 to 6.4 billion m3 in 2020, added Len.

He forecasted an increase in demand on environmental forest services with more natural forests being excluded from wood production. This increase is also driven by recent advancements of biomass conversion to bio-energy.

Len’s speech was read by Acting Deputy General Manager AFSID Lucy Chong during a workshop on Kelampayan Tree Improvement Programme, held at Wisma STA yesterday.

Organised by the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), in collaboration with Sarawak Timber Association (STA), the one-day workshop was attended by 50 participants consisting of timber industry players, licensed planted forest operators and SFC and STA staff.

Len said that Sarawak in partnership with the private sector was embarking on a planted forest establishment to plant one million hectares of planted forests by 2020.

“This is to ensure a sustainable supply of raw materials for local processing and reduce dependency on the natural forest,” he added.

He also highlighted the importance of tree improvement.

“Without access to good genetic stock there is no possibility of optimising timber production. This is evident in the case of the improved Acacia mangium superbulk, a successful example in Sarawak.”

Len explained that poor quality growing stocks can be attributed to poor forest management, silviculture practices, pest and disease management, the genetic make- up of the tree itself, or the combination of all these.

Meanwhile, STA chairman of Forest Plantation Peter Ling congratulated SFC for presenting their latest findings on Kelampayan to members of STA and requested a comprehensive research programme to ensure the success of Kelampayan in the State.

He also urged all members of STA Forest Plantation category to work closely with SFC.

SFC has embarked on R&D on planted forest species since 2003. Its tree improvement programme covers most of the R&D aspects of tree improvement, with the ultimate aim of producing Kelampayan that is adaptive and able to provide optimum growth and quality.

The establishment of planted forests requires huge capital investment and return of investment depends on a gamut of factors, making it necessary to invest more in R&D for tree improvement to increase the competitiveness of the forest-based industry here.

In the workshop participants were introduced to a variety of subjects on tree improvement with special focus on the Kelampayan The workshop will also enable SFC to formulate their future steps in developing a viable planted forests.