SANDAKAN: The Sg Rawog Conservation Area Scientific Expedition 2018 which was jointly organised by KTS Plantation Sdn. Bhd. and Sabah Forestry Department was launched by outgoing Chief Conservator of Forests, Sabah, Datuk Sam Mannan, at the Forestry Department here, yesterday.
The expedition, which involved participation from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), Sabah Parks, WWF, Forest Research Center of Sabah Forestry Department and other agencies in Sabah, is being held from Aug 8 to 18, 2018. About 160 participants are involved in the expedition, in two batches.
With a total of 32 key researchers involved in the expedition, who will carry out research ranging from aquatic, entomology, mineralogy, soil, avifauna, tourism and more, the expedition will become a scientific expedition with the most scientists involved in Sabah.
KTS Plantation (KTSP) took the initiative to jointly organise the scientific expedition to explore and document the biodiversity within their Forest Management Unit (FMU).
The FMU is now managed based on the principles of sustainable forest management (SFM) and the requirements of the Sustainable Forest Management Licence Agreement (SFMLA) with the Sabah government.
The main goal is to ensure that the timber resources will be maintained on a sustainable yield basis, with a commitment to protecting the natural resources and biological diversity of the natural forest.
Sg. Rawog is a conservation area covering 3,069 hectares, along the Sungai Rawog valley, serving as a wildlife corridor connecting Deramakot Forest Reserve and IOI Sdn. Bhd. It is located within the Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve here and has been managed by KTS Plantation since 1993, involving a total area of 57,247 hectares.
KTS Plantation has always strived to enhance its knowledge on SFM as the way forward.
To enhance its conservation effort, a research collaboration has been established through a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Sabah Forestry Department, Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) and KTS Plantation in 2016. Among the programmes of collaboration were wildlife survey, forest camp and forest rehabilitation assessment, and now this scientific expedition.
KTS Plantation adopts sustainable forest practices in managing Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve, and the company is the first in Malaysia to attain the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).
The forest management practice in KTS Plantation has been endorsed by various certification schemes, such as Malaysian Criteria and Indicators for Forest Management Certification (Natural Forest) and EMS ISO14001.
Documentation of biodiversity in the Sg Rawog Conservation Area is in line with the Heart of Borneo (HoB) Initiative, which emphasizes on forest conservation and the establishment of wildlife connectivity. Central to HoB Initiative is the state government’s policy to conserve its natural ecosystems through protected areas. For the terrestrial ecosystems in Sabah, to date, more than 26 per cent of the state’s land area (about 1.9 million hectares) have been gazetted as Totally Protected Areas (TPAs), and this figure represents the largest network of TPAs in the country.
This expedition will be the first biodiversity documentation of this conservation area. Hence, the research findings will provide salient information to enhance the conservation efforts of KTS in this reserve. A seminar will be held three months after the expedition to disseminate information obtained from the expedition.
KTS Group Sabah Area operation manager (forests), Collin Goh, said at the launching ceremony that KTS is hopeful that the expedition will give all parties concerned a better understanding of the conservation area.
“KTSP believes that this expedition is critical for maintaining SFM in SLFR as the more knowledge we gain about our forest, the better we can manage the reserve according to the SFM principles. We hope that all these brilliant researchers will be able to assist KTSP to uncover the treasure that lies within our conservation areas. We believe, this scientific expedition will not only benefit KTSP, but also the forestry sector as a whole,” he said.