Seminar for scientific expedition successfully organised in KK

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A group photo of the participants of the Seminar for Scientific Expedition on Sg Rawog Conservation Area version 2.0 at Le Meridien today.

KOTA KINABALU (Feb 29): The Seminar for Scientific Expedition on Sungai Rawog Conservation Area 2.0 took place here today to communicate the result of an expedition carried out last year to various stakeholders and forest communities at large.

Forty-six experts from various fields of studies took part in the two-week expedition in September 2023.

They represented 10 organisations, namely Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), Sabah Parks, Forest Research Centre, Sabah Biodiversity Centre, non-governmental organisantion Hutan, Universiti Malaya (UM), University College Sabah Foundation (UCSF), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UTM).

KTS Group of Companies managing director Dato Henry Lau said that findings from the expedition will be incorporated into the company’s Forest Management Plan which will be revised this year.

“I was made to understand that the two-week expedition in September last year was a huge success and I want to acknowledge and congratulate all those involved in it.

“Among others, data from the expedition has indicated that Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve has high population and species diversity of wildlife compared to other production forest areas in Sabah, and at par with some conservation forest areas.

“This result is a testimony of practising forest management strategy guided by science-based approach which has encouraged us to embark further together with the scientific community,” he said.

The text of Lau’s speech was delivered by KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd director Wong Kee Mee, who represented him at the opening of the seminar held at Le Meridien.

Lau also revealed that KTS Group of Companies will be establishing an Academic Chair at UMS’ Tropical Forestry Faculty.

He said this will take place during the second quarter of this year and it is now in the final stage of discussion.

The move is to reinforce KTS’ commitment towards research and education, he added.

“Over the past decade, we have seen the forest industry evolve from a mere conventional industry into a complex one that has challenged the principle of sustainable forest management.

“This is evident in the declining forest resources, both flora and fauna,” he said.

Lau added that developed countries such as Canada and New Zealand have successfully navigated their forest industry through tough times to emerge as role models for other countries in the aspect of sustainable forest management.

To acknowledge the importance of science in forest management, he said KTS Plantation has entered into a tri-partite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) version 2.0 with the Sabah Forestry Department and UMS to conduct research in various sustainable forest management aspects and to support education of future foresters.

Lau also said that both Sabah Forestry Department and UMS have been the company’s collaborative partners since 2015.

“Looking forward, I can only foresee more significant contributions through various initiatives for the benefit of the industries, learning institutions and the community at large,” he said.

Also present at the event were KTS Plantation Sabah area operations manager Collin Goh and Chief Conservator of Forests Datuk Frederick Kugan.

Meanwhile, Goh in his closing speech of the seminar said flora and fauna diversity deserve correct understanding and must be sufficiently accommodated in the forest management plan of the Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve.

He said that failing to do so will cause chaotic conflict of survival.

“I believe this is similar with all of the Forest Management Units in Sabah,” he said.

He stressed the importance of the involvement of multi-discipline experts to attain sustainable forest management.

He also said the old adage that the forestry industry being merely about ‘felling and selling’ a tree was no longer relevant.

“We realised that the industry evolved at faster rate, more than we expected. Hence, we are determined to continuously embrace the approach of ‘scientifically evidence-based practices’.

“We need the best foresters to develop appropriate models and methods to navigate us,” he said.