KUCHING: The 20 timber licensees in the Heart of Borneo area are urged to have their forest operations certified.
According to state Forest Department director Ahmad Sapuan the move was
crucial because the 2.1ha-Heart of Borneo was the catchment area for many rivers draining Sarawak.
“The Heart of Borneo is a highland area which is a catchment area and a source of many rivers which we are using as drinking water. The area is a potential reservoir, so we want to make sure that logging activities there are reduced by impact logging.
“We want the licensees to come forward and obtain the forest management certification,” Sapuan said when contacted yesterday.
He said the public generally had been having the wrong
perception about Heart of Borneo; that there was no logging activities going on in the area.
“The 2.1ha-Heart of Borneo is not an area of conservation. Of course, the Orang Utan Sanctuary at Lanjak Entimau (200,000ha of natural habitat) is there, but not the whole area.
“There are still logging activities going on in the area except in the Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary,” said Sapuan.
He added that even though the state had allowed timber to be harvested from the Heart of Borneo, the department required the licensees to do it responsibly and properly without damaging the forests, hence the call for the 20 or so licensees to be certified.
“These timber licensees need to ensure certification of the Heart of Borneo areas by 2017 if they wish to keep their forest concessions. This is part of the government’s efforts to ensure forest sustainability in Sarawak.”
When officiating at the Forest Management Certification (Natural Forest) seminar in 2014, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem had expressed the willingness to give long term timber concession up to 60 years to timber industry players to encourage sustainable forest management.
He believed that long term timber concession would be an incentive for logging operators to obtain the Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) certification. On the other hand, failure to fulfill the conditions would result in the termination of their licences.
The introduction of SFM certification had caused Sarawak Timber Association (STA) to highlight the challenges faced by the industry players in obtaining certification which included the short tenure of the licence of five to 10 years.
Adenan believed that if timber players were to be given a 60-year lease, they could do proper planning and carry out sustainable forest management in their concession areas.