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KUCHING, Oct 26: Sarawak needs to catch up with forest plantation development to ensure a sustainable planted forest as the State government intends to embark on tertiary downstream timber processing.
This would help point the State towards being export-oriented, especially on large scale manufacturing of furniture and other value-added timber products, says Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
He said logs from planted forests will be the ultimate substitute of future raw materials in the timber processing industry.
The Sarawak government is urging the timber products manufacturing sector to transform themselves and reinvest to adapt their processing equipment and techniques to the changed log quality and species, he said.
“Research must continue to seek ways of improving management and ways for measuring and valuing tradeoffs between different components of sustainability.
“Partnerships between researchers and managers need to be revitalised to make the best use of an information-rich environment,” he said in his speech prior to the launching of the third International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) Acacia Conference here today.
Abang Johari added research and development (R&D) is one of the key initiatives to address the gaps in forest plantation development.
As such, he said the Sarawak government welcomes international collaborations to build up the research capacity in Sarawak, thus contributing to the growth of the high value plantation industry in the State.
He also called on universities and training institutes to work together with the forest sector to develop the integrated industry-universities training courses to provide skilled employees for the industry and making the industry a success.
Apart from that, Abang Johari believed the use of advanced technologies could benefit the forest sector, especially in planted forests, such as hyperspectral imaging systems which can be used in the monitoring of pest and disease incidents in big plantations, mapping of soil types, volume prediction and so forth.
He cited an example of the hyperspectral imaging system developed by the Sarawak Forest Department which contains a wealth of data, including forest stand composition such as species composition of natural or planted forest through mapping.
“In addition to that, the high spectral and spatial resolution sensors can determine the health status of planted forests in the State.
Among those present at the launching of the third IUFRO Acacia Conference were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh, Ministry of Urban Development and Natural Resources permanent secretary Datu Zaidi Mahdi, Sarawak Forest Department director Datu Hamden Mohammad and Land and Survey Department director Datu Abdullah Julaihi. — DayakDaily