Sarawak a role model


World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) impressed with state’s conservation efforts, sustainable land development

We are very serious in our efforts to conserve our flora and fauna. Datu Len Talif Salleh, Assistant Minister of Environment

KUCHING: Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary and Batang Ai National Park are teeming with more than 5,000 orang utans today, and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is impressed.

In fact, the WWF considered the state’s conservation efforts, especially of the orang utans, a role model, said Assistant Minister of Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh.

He added that the state had 34 national parks, animal conservation centres and wildlife sanctuaries.

“We are very serious in our efforts to conserve our flora and fauna, and we have been very successful in protecting the orang utans in Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary and in Batang Ai National Park,” Len told The Borneo Post yesterday.

He was commenting on a WWF report which included data from the World Bank, that stated that as of last year, some 34 per cent of Canada’s total land area was forest while in Malaysia, it was 61.7 per cent. WWF also reported that the whole island of Borneo had been listed as one of 11 major deforestation fronts worldwide.

The Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary spans some 200,000 hectares (ha). It is part of the Heart of Borneo (HoB) area, which includes some 300,000 ha from the Kalimantan (Indonesia) side.

Len said the state government under Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem had been collaborating with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as WWF and World Conservation Society (WCS) to better protect the state’s rich nature reserves.

“This is part of the government’s efforts to develop the land in a sustainable manner, which is even acknowledged by WWF.”

Len further ascertained the report by WWF that some six million ha of forests in Sarawak – about half the size of the state – was being logged sustainably.

Sustainable logging means an area is permitted to be logged in such a way that there would always be enough trees for people to harvest and cut on a long term basis.

Len said the logging area was within the seven million ha zone that is reserved as the state’s forests. Len explained that of the state’s 12.4 million ha of land mass, seven million ha was for forestry and 5.4 million ha for agriculture or settlements.

Of the seven million ha for forestry, six million is for sustainable logging and one million ha for national parks and nature reserves.

Oil palm plantations, the planting of other crops, and settlements are all within the 5.4 million ha meant for agriculture or settlement.

Meanwhile, Adenan is expected to brief agencies and NGOs such as WWF, Green Peace and WCS in London today for them to understand what the state had to offer in relations to environmental management and preservation.

The session is also meant to exchange ideas and explore potentials for collaboration between these NGOs and the state. The invitations were extended to the NGOs through the Malaysian High Commission in London.