BINTULU: Local and foreign researchers have begun to discover more about the ‘hidden forest treasures’ in Sarawak, especially the national parks – thanks to a mini scientific expedition to Bukit Kana National Park conducted in November last year.
According to Forest Department Sarawak director Datu Hamden Mohammad, the programme has indirectly helped to promote Sarawak to the world.
He also said throughout the expedition, various findings and data had been recorded by the researchers, who represented various fields of such as botany, soil science, entomology, water quality studies, fungi and ecology.
“I hope that these findings would be shared to enable protection and conservation of national parks and protected areas, as well as to contribute to Bukit Kana National Park management plan,” he spoke at the closing of a seminar on ‘Unlocking the Secrets of Bukit Kana National Park’, at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Bintulu Campus yesterday.
Adding on, Hamden said the running of programmes such as the Bukit Kana National Park mini-expedition were in line
with Forest Department Sarawak’s key objective of ensuring that all national parks in Sarawak would always be managed efficiently and comprehensively.
On top of that, he stressed that the department strove to increase the total coverage of national parks and protected areas.
“Up till today, Forest Department Sarawak has managed to conserve and constitute a total area of 2.059 million hectares as Totally Protected Areas (TPA), consisting of 45 national parks, 15 nature reserves and five wildlife sanctuaries.
“Besides that, Forest Department Sarawak has also managed to maintain 63 per cent forest cover, constituting 7.8 million hectares out of the total 12.45 million hectares, the total area of Sarawak.
“The department has also managed to gazette a total area of 4.3 million hectares as Protected Forest Estates (PFEs) in Sarawak,” he said, adding that based on these figures, he believed that there were still plenty to explore and discover in Sarawak.
Meanwhile, six scientific papers were presented during a half-day scientific seminar.
The presentation by researchers from the Forest Department Sarawak and UPM Bintulu covered plants, macrofungi, termites, soil and hydrology.
The seminar was based on the findings from the Bukit Kana National Park mini scientific expedition, jointly run by Forest Department Sarawak and UPM Bintulu from Nov 3 to 11 last year.
The nine-day programme involved 75 university students, as well as staff members from UPM Bintulu and Forestry Department.
In his remarks, UPM Bintulu director Prof Dr Bujang Kim Huat expressed his appreciation to the department for the collaboration in organising the seminar.
He regarded this as a good example of collaborative research initiative by the department and the campus, and he was looking forward to having more of such collaborations in the future.
Gazetted on Jan 15, 2015, Bukit Kana National Park covers an area of 4,923 hectares.
It is located at Sangan within the Tatau District, and is one of the 45 national parks in Sarawak.
It is rich in biodiversity, but holds many ‘ecological treasures’ yet to be explored and recorded.
Event organising chairman Assoc Prof Dr Ong Kian Huat was also present at the seminar.