Tuesday, November 19

State mulls extending Heart of Borneo area

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Len (centre) receives a token of appreciation from Hamden. Also seen is State Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker and Mulu assemblyman Datuk Gerawat Gala.

KUCHING: Sarawak is considering extending the area covered by the Heart of Borneo (HoB) initiative from the current 2.1 million ha.

Assistant Minister of Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh said while the total area to be extended has not been confirmed, the Forest Department is studying the proposal.

At present Sarawak has set aside 2.1 million ha for the initiative, which is around 15 per cent of the total area under HoB.

“It is about time for us to extend the area of HoB, from Batang Ai to the western part of Sarawak along the border which covers the Kelingkang range, Bengoh range, Gunung Gading National Park and all the way up to Tanjung Datu National Park,” Len said during the HoB Long Banga Scientific Expedition Seminar welcoming dinner on Wednesday.

Len, who is also Kuala Rajang assemblyman, said the proposal will not harm existing land use but instead enhance resource management of the area.

Meanwhile, Forest Department deputy director Hamden Mohammad said Sarawak is a mega-diverse region that implements Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) and has maintained over 65 per cent forest cover.

“While we strive to become a developed state by 2030, with high income and better quality of life, conservation of biodiversity will be a top priority for Sarawak, as we are taking a balanced approach towards development,” he said.

The HoB initiative involves trans-boundary cooperation between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei in the effort to conserve the biodiversity of the area for the benefit of the people who rely on it through a network of protected areas, sustainable management of forests, and other sustainable land use.