Friday, April 10, 2009

Sarawak Rainforest and Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Discovery Centre at Bukit Kana in Sangan, Tatau

Forestry sector has reasons to celebrate

BINTULU: The state forestry sector has every reason to celebrate as yesterday marked a double achievements and significant milestone with the opening of Sarawak Rainforest and Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Discovery Centre at Bukit Kana in Sangan, Tatau and SFM certification of Anap-Muput FMU (Forest Management Unit).

It is the first FMU to be certified under Malaysian Criteria and Indicator 2002 for Sustainable Forest Management.

Forest Department director Datu Len Talif Salleh had the honour to officiate at the opening ceremony, which was arranged by Zedtee Sdn Bhd.

Len, in his keynote address said this was pure testament of the state’s successful policy on voluntary certification scheme, which augured well with the private sector.

Len, who is also the managing director and chief executive officer of Sarawak Forestry Corporation, also wanted branding of the forestry sector and its products to achieve the level of ‘super brand’ associated with quality and premium products.

“SFM certification attaches with it a strong image of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The market is attracted to such corporate entities that emphasise long term and ensure sustenance for future generation.

“Therefore I urge all FMUs to take this cue and model their units towards achieving an internationally renowned brand in forest management,” he said.

According to him, SFM strongly promoted the interests of local community through protection of resources and conservation of environment for perpetuity. It would also benefit the public through access to High Conservation Value Forest designated as recreational areas for eco-tourism.

In addition, he said areas for biodiversity conservation should be protected, for instance forest areas that contained treasure troves of medicinal plants.

He added that the implementation of SFM needed not rest solely on the shoulders of the government and the long-term licence holders alone.

He pointed out that SFM certification also made it compulsory for conflicts to be addressed and resolved.

“We are now in the process of finalising a mechanism for conflict resolution with the assistance of a group of social experts,” he added.

The newly opened centre is foreseen to play an important role in expanding forest management certification to both natural and planted forest in the state.

The training facilities in the centre and the experiences gained from certified Anap-Muput FMU could be incorporated into government-initiated training programmes run by Sarawak Timber Association, Sarawak Planted Forests, and STIDC, he said.

The centre contains exhibits showing flora and fauna, and daily life in the longhouse, which displays inter-dependencies and network of life.

He said the Anap-Muput FMU was surrounded by 15 Iban longhouses with a population of 1,275 and SFM brings everybody in a loop, whereby the community participates in a sustainable form of economy that reduces competition over forest land.

“As population increases, more land is needed to maintain their traditional form of shifting cultivation, which consumes vast amount of forest land.

“Therefore again I urge the local people to fully understand SFM to enable them to engage in the development programmes that can improve their livelihood.

“I also call for involvement of other government agencies to provide assistance to such initiatives, and under the 10th Malaysia Plan, SFC has put up two project proposals with the Anap-Muput FMU in Mind as the pilot area,” he said.

He said alternative sources of revenue were also being identified and developed.

During the event, four model staff of Anap-Muput FMU received merit certificates for their exemplary excellent performance from Len.

He also presented the Honorary Wildlife Ranger certificates to several members of the local community before making a tour of facilities at the centre.

Kakus assemblyman John Sikie Tayai, Malaysian Timber Certification Council chairman Datuk Dr Freezailah Che Yeom, Zedtee Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Ling Chiong Ho, Zedtee director Wong Ing Yung, Sarawak Timber Association chief executive officer Dr Lee Hua Seng, Conservation and Community Development Committee of Anap-Muput FMU chairman Michael Agul, Sarawak Forest Department deputy director Ali Yusop, and Bintulu Development Authority general manager Mohidin Ishak, were also present at the function.

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