KUCHING: Forestry stakeholders in Sarawak must invest more in R&D of planted forests to ensure productivity and sustainability of the state’s relatively young planted forest industry.
International Union of Forest Research Organisations (Iufro) president Professor Michael J Wingfield stated this at the ‘Pest and Disease’ Workshop organised by Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) here recently. In his keynote address at the workshop, Wingfield shared his vast experience and insights on the threats posed by pests and diseases to the wellbeing of forest plantations the world over.
Wingfield intimated that the impacts of pest and diseases could be more severe in natural forests than in planted forests. He emphasised that it was vital to ‘stay ahead of the game’ in order to prevent catastrophic failures and this calls for concerted efforts of local and international agencies and institutions.
He suggested that it is necessary for SFC, the timber industry and other stakeholders in Sarawak to engage relevant experts in planted forest R & D to identify local pests and diseases in the initial stage as well as provide first-hand training for local researchers through collaboration with international research and academic institutions.
“Forestry is a long-term business and investment in research would eventually pay off,” Wingfield pointed out.