SIBU: Sarawak is studying the afforestation model used in Finland for sustainable forestry management, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Sharing the state government’s policy on timber, he noted that Finland was good at afforestation – the process of planting trees in a barren land devoid of any trees to create a forest.
He highlighted that attaining such sustainability was pivotal to give confidence to the market about the state’s timber industry being environmentally friendly.
“We are studying the model used in Finland. The weather there is not advantageous to its lumber industry, but yet they can still succeed at it. It takes a tree about 70 years to reach maturity, compared to here, which takes about six years to harvest.
“I have told Forest Department that for every tree felled, it has to be replanted – meaning that there is sustainability. Sustainability is important in all the areas that have been harvested – these areas must be replanted again with fast growing trees.
“This will give a signal to the market that we care for the environment,” Abang Johari said when officiating at M.M. golden (M) Sdn Bhd’s corporate building in Deshon Road here today.
“Once we have that inculcated that brand of sustainability, people will buy our timber products. Otherwise, people will boycott us.
“We meet the requirements of sustainability and that is why we must have the right policies in place,” he added.
He also assured that the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem’s policy would continue, where oil palms will no longer be planted on government land but on NCR land instead.
The Chief Minister added there was a need to diversify the state’s policy of plantation as it cannot rely solely on the oil palm industry.
“If prices of oil palm dropped, and timber prices begin to climb, at least we can balance out the markets with our resources, particularly, in land and timber,” he said, while stressing on the importance of safeguarding the environment to ensure balanced development in the state.
In sharing GPS’ (government) economic policy, he said the state government stimulates the economy through creative and innovative opportunities that have to be created for its business community.