KUCHING: The state government wants concession areas within the Heart of Borneo to obtain Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) certification by 2017.
Special Functions Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem said the certification is a requirement in certain markets despite the state having won recognition for its sustainable forest management from the International Tropical Timber Organisation.
“We are expecting to assist and encourage major timber industry players to have their forest concessions certified for (SFM) certification,” said Adenan when officiating at the seminar on ‘Sarawak’s Heart of Borneo 2013 HOB – the Living Treasure of Sarawak’ at a leading hotel here yesterday.
Adenan, who is also Tanjung Datu assemblyman, pointed out that the state also needs to gain international recognition for SFM certification.
He further stressed timber companies were reluctant to implement SFM due to unattractive financial rewards, lack of tenure in security and reduction in volume from SFM areas.
“These therefore need further attention,” he elaborated.
Adenan also pointed that the timber industry had made significant contributions to the rural economy and improved the living standards of the rural population by creating access and opportunities for employment apart from various forms of assistance.
“Don’t look at the timber company as simply the culprit. There are the main contributions too.
They also believe in sustainable development and economic development. Don’t just point your finger at the timber company and say they are the culprit. Maybe some are but not all are like that. Many are conscious about the environment and they subscribe to sustainable exploiting and they do replanting of timber,” he added.
He said the existence of timber roads has made it easier for the government to bring development to rural areas, for people from different settlements to travel and visit each other, to go to towns for pleasure, medical treatment or meet government officials and their children to attend school.
“We will manage our timber industry in a sustainable manner,” he said.
Adenan pointed out that the state government has decided to set aside about 2.1 million hectares of forest area for the Heart of Borneo’s long-term objectives of promoting the people’s welfare and cooperation to ensure effective forest resource management and conservation.
He also said that Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia were committed to the joint conservation initiatives to ensure sustainable management of 200,000 sq km of vast unbroken forest that still cloaks the mountains, foothills and adjacent lowlands stretching along the inland borders of the three countries.
The highlight of yesterday morning’s programme of the three-day seminar which will end on June 28 was the launching of the book ‘Heart of Borneo Series: Paya Maga Sarawak’s Pristine Highland Forest’ by Forest Department Sarawak.
Also present at the function were Assistant Minister for Resource Planning Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais and Assistant Minister for Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh, director of Forests Datu Ali Yusop and permanent secretary to Ministry of Resource Planning Datu Sudarsono Osman and a representative from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Wan Hasmah Wan Mohd.