Sabah Forestry Department’s ‘Protection Forest’ Initiative will Protect 700 sq km of Rainforest

The Sabah Forestry Department recently re-gazetted  700 sq kilometers of Ulu Segama Forest Reserve and Northern Gunung Rara, which border the Danum Valley conservation area known for its research facilities and high levels of biodiversity. The area will be reclassified from Class 2 commercial forests to Class 1 protection forests, effectively protecting them from further logging or conversion to plantations. Although the area has been selectively logged, it remains key habitat for endangered orangutans, Bornean clouded leopards, Sumatran rhinos, and pygmy elephants, according to conservationists. Read these two articles below to find out more.

For more information on Borneo’s forest and climate policies, please visit: http://borneoproject.org/our-work/ongoing-campaigns/redd-and-international-policy

For more information on Borneo’s biodiversity conservation, please visit: http://borneoproject.org/borneo/biodiversity-conservation

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http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0830-sabah-new-reserves.html

Sabah protects 700 sq mi of rainforest in Borneo

mongabay.com
August 30, 2012

Imbak Canyon, Sabah.
Imbak Canyon, Sabah. Photo by Rhett Butler

Sabah, a state in Malaysian Borneo, has reclassified 183,000 hectares (700 sq km) of forest zoned for logging concessions as protected areas.

The Sabah Forestry Department recently re-gazetted Ulu Segama Forest Reserve and Northern Gunung Rara — formerly Class 2 commercial forests — as Class 1 protection forests, effectively protecting them from further logging or conversion to plantations. The reserves border the Danum Valley conservation area, which is world-renown for its research facilities and high levels of biodiversity. Although the area has been selectively logged, it remains key habitat for endangered orangutans, Bornean clouded leopards, Sumatran rhinos, and pygmy elephants, according to conservationists.

“This re-gazettement will serve to secure habitat for Malaysia’s largest orang-utan population, as well as for a wide range of biological diversity,” Marc Ancrenaz, scientific director of Hutan-Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Programme, said in a statement.

 

  Forest classification map of Sabah, Malaysia, 1990 and 2010.
Map showing Sabah’s forest classification in 1990 and 2010. From Reynolds el al (2011) published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

“The main merit of this plan is to make it more difficult for any governments in the future to convert the lowland parts of these Forest Reserves to oil palm plantation,” added Junaidi Payne of Borneo Rhino Alliance.

The move boosts Sabah’s protected areas to 1.3 million hectares, about 18 percent of its total land area. Oil palm plantations, a major driver of forest conversion in Sabah since the mid-1980s, cover about 1.4 million hectares across the state.

Sabah’s lowland forests have also suffered from heavy industrial logging, which have largely depleted the state’s timber resources. Sabah’s forests are nevertheless in considerably better shape than those in neighboring Sarawak, which have been, and continue to be, decimated by logging and conversion to plantations.

A coalition of environmental groups and businesses in Sabah are now leading a push toward greener development, including more sustainable use of its forests and a low carbon economy.

Cynthia Ong, founder of the environmental group LEAP, says the re-gazetting of Ulu Segama and Gunung Rara is a step toward this vision.

“Nationally and regionally, Sabah is emerging as a leader in pushing the boundaries in management of natural ecosystem services, and for treating forests as stores of water, carbon and biodiversity rather than just as timber sources,” she said. “We still have major problems and issues to address, but this is the sort of change that we do want to see.”

 

 

 

 

http://www.theborneopost.com/2012/08/25/three-sabah-ngos-support-protection-forest-initiative/

Three Sabah NGOs support ‘Protection Forest’ initiative

Posted on August 25, 2012, Saturday

KOTA KINABALU: Three Sabah-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have expressed their support for the move by the Sabah Forest Department to re-gazette 183,000 hectares (ha) of heavily logged Class 2 Commercial Forest into Class 1 Protection Forest, which makes it a protected area.

Responding to an announcement recently that the Department had decided to convert the Ulu Segama Forest Reserve and the northern part of Gunung Rara Forest Reserve to a protected area, scientific director of Hutan-Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Programme Dr Marc Ancrenaz said: “This re-gazettement will serve to secure habitat for Malaysia’s largest orang-utan population, as well as for a wide range of biological diversity.”

“Hutan has been assisting in surveys and monitoring of orang-utans in this area for the past few years, so we are especially pleased to see this move by the State Government,” said Marc said in a joint statement, here yesterday.

Founder of LEAP (Land Empowerment Animals People) Cynthia Ong said in the same statement that nationally and regionally, Sabah was emerging as a leader in pushing the boundaries in management of natural ecosystem services, and for treating forests as stores of water, carbon and biodiversity rather than just as timber sources.

“We still have major problems and issues to address, but this is the sort of change that we do want to see,” she said.

Also in the same statement, Datuk Junaidi Payne of Borneo Rhino Alliance said the main merit of this plan was to make it more difficult for any governments in the future to convert the lowland parts of these Forest Reserves to oil palm plantations.

“Which is what will otherwise happen. Palm oil on accessible lowland soils yields the best returns to company shareholders over any other land use outside towns, as well as the highest taxation potential to the State Government, on a per hectare per year basis.

“That is fine, but companies are not obliged to pay for the adverse impacts such as lower water quality, lost carbon or lost biodiversity, or for the opportunity costs to other industrial sectors,” he said. — Bernama

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