Sustainable Forest Management

by | November 4th, 2007 | Environment & Sustainability | One Comment

My story of the Wild Cuckoo Chase is a case study into how seemingly elusive is the concept of sustainable forest management. At the Sabah Society talk in May 2007 entitled ‘Forestry in Sabah’ the State Director of Forestry admitted to an ‘environmental disaster’ in Ulu Segama Malua Forest Reserve.

Now 6 months on, the logging in this area is drawing to a close and the Forestry Department and NGO’s are poised to begin an ambitious reforestation program. This is a tough call for the NGO’s to make because although rehabilitation is desperately needed, to do so excuses the logging company from their obligation to avoid doing the damage in the first place.

It sends the message that it’s OK to log unsustainably because someone else will pay to clear up the mess. The logging licensee (in this case Yayasan Sabah) is left to go on making unsustainable profits by extracting timber from other forest reserves.

In the area surrounding Imbak Canyon Conservation Area, Yayasan Sabah is about to start logging the Sungai Pinangah Forest Reserve, otherwise known as Forest Management Units (FMU) 15 and 16. Together these FMU’s total 190,000ha and include large tracts of High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF).

The extent of this gearing-up to logging is clearly illustrated by the rate at which the State Government has been approving Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for timber extraction. These approvals have risen from 16,000ha of forest in 2005 to 29,000ha in 2006 and 67,000ha so far in 2007. Source: Sabah State Government

The fact that logging contractors must get EIA approval may sound encouraging but in fact this is largely a formality, serving only to delay rather than mitigate environmental damage. If logging is to go ahead, then the only widely accepted standard for environmental damage limitation is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.

Full FSC certification is a rigorous process and may take several years to complete but it would ensure that wildlife corridors, HCVF, steep areas and riparian reserves area all identified and protected. It is encouraging therefore that Yayasan Sabah are apparently intending to gain FSC certification for FMU’s 15 and 16. Souce: Tropical Forest Trust

The big question then is; why have EIA’s already been granted to log over 112,400ha of this forest when the FSC certification process has not got beyond the ‘pre-assessment’ phase?

It will be interesting to find out whether Yayasan Sabah are serious about FSC certification and if not, what alternative method of environmental protection is being used. It would be inexcusable to see a repeat of the Ulu Segama Malua disaster in Sungai Pinangah Forest Reserve.

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One Comment for Sustainable Forest Management

Logging Maliau Basin buffer zone

[…] Latterly YS seem to have lost control over their contractors and we have witnessed virtual clear cutting. The Ulu Segama Malua area is a case in point. See my earlier post. […]


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