Monday, October 2

‘Restructuring process to keep Forest Dept relevant’


Penguang (eighth right) and Hamden (sixth right) with the prize winners.

BINTULU: The Forest Department is undergoing a restructuring process in order to remain relevant and better serve the people.

Director Datu Hamden Mohammad said through the restructuring, the Forest Department and Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) would have clearer cut roles and responsibilities in managing forest resources and conserving Sarawak’s biodiversity.

“As agreed, the Forest Department will regulate all forest areas in Sarawak in the aspect of management and operations, while SFC will manage the national parks and wildlife protection,” he said during the Bintulu region office’s appreciation night on Monday, which was part of activities to mark the 100th year of the department’s establishment.

“This appreciation night is to give due recognition to all parties who have been very supportive of the department. Without your support and cooperation, it is impossible for us to protect and preserve our forests, which have been recognised as one of the 25 biological hotspots in the world.”

He said over the 100 years, the department has been headed by 17 conservators or forest directors, with various efforts and specific methods introduced and implemented for sustainable forest management.

“No doubt the forest composition now is different than 100 years ago because of the forest exploration that must be made to give way for other development activities. To date, the Sarawak government has gazetted 5.04 million ha as Permanent Forest Estates (PFE) and Totally Protected Areas (TPA),” he said.

To balance between protecting forest areas and development activities, Hamden said the Sarawak Forest Landscape Restoration programme was launched in June, with three nurseries developed to ensure sufficient supply of seedlings.

“From these nurseries, approximately about 300,000 seedlings of trees from various species will be ready to be planted,” he added.

Other centenary events include a forest talk on Nov 20 featuring the forest director, former directors, and department retirees; a gala dinner; and the launching of the centenary pictorial book on Nov 22.

Present was Assistant Minister of Local Government and Housing, Datu Dr Penguang Manggil.