KUCHING, Sept 21: The State Forest Department should consider parcelling out planted forest areas to get more locals involved in reforestation programmes instead of just allocating them to big firms only.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has taken note of this suggestion from Kapit MP Dato Sri Alexander Nanta Linggi to address the shortage of workers in reforestation efforts to maintain, protect and improve forest coverage in Sarawak.
“Out of the 7.7 million hectares of forest covered areas in Sarawak, 2.1 million are under planted forests.
“I am very pleased with the healthy balance in which the Forest Department is practicing in their pursuance in greening Sarawak. But they are now facing employment problems as I was told that the locals are not keen on reforestation programmes, while foreign workers are also hard to get,” he said in a statement today.
Masing, who is also Minister of Infrastructure and Port Development, has been briefed by Forest Department Sarawak director Datu Hamden Mohammad on the reforestation efforts and progress in Sarawak today.
Tree planting, he emphasised, is a crucial part in keeping a balance in the ecosystem and environment of Sarawak in order to feed industrial needs as well as to ensure the biodiversity of flora and fauna can continue to thrive.
“Apart from planting industrial trees like acacia and eucalyptus, big areas are devoted to planting indigenous species like meranti, belain, engkabang, selangan batu and many others.
“By planting these fruit-bearing species, they will provide food to our wildlife which thrive in our forests,” he added.
Apart from Nanta, the briefing was also attended by Pelagus assemblyman Wilson Nyabong Ijang and political secretaries Nicholas Kudi, Tapah Ata and Maurice Joannes Giri. — DayakDaily