Sarawak govt issues timber licenses strictly for development purposes

Datu Hamden Mohammad

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KUCHING, Oct 30: The Sarawak government will only issue timber licenses strictly for development purposes, assured Sarawak Forest Department director Datu Hamden Mohammad.

This will be based on the needs of development in certain areas in the state.

“As previously announced by former Chief Minister the late Tun Adenan Satem, the state government has stopped issuing long term logging licenses.

“However, new licenses are still being issued for development. This is on short term basis, ranging from six months to one year, depending on the land size and type of development. Examples are land clearing for plantation or for hydroelectric plant (HEP),” Hamden said in a press conference after the launch of sharing session on Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) guidelines for Sarawak, today.

Participants from the sharing session on Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) guidelines for Sarawak.

He explained that such licenses had to be issued otherwise development could not be carried out.

“As of August this year, 184 licenses are still valid in Sarawak. Out of that total, 118 are the ‘big ones’ with about five years validity while the remaining ones are for smaller projects. The moment the project is complete, usually within two or three years, then the license will expire,” Hamden disclosed.

He added that Sarawak government is committed to ensure that the state’s forests and resources are managed in a sustainable manner; and all long-term timber licenses which have been issued for timber harvesting must obtain forest management certification by 2022.

Meanwhile, Forest Department Sarawak management and compliance manager Ting Chek Hien said the RIL guidelines for ground-based timber harvesting in Sarawak will reduce and mitigate any adverse impacts of timber harvesting on the forest environment, including its biodiversity (flora and fauna), soils, water resources, forest climate and carbon pools.

Forest Department Sarawak management and compliance manager Ting Chek Hien.

“The guidelines will also standardise, support and facilitate the planning, monitoring and control measures related to timber harvesting, including pre-felling inventories, resource mapping, detailed harvesting plans, road plans and reduced impact logging plans.

“It will provide guidance on the selection, marking, recording, mapping, and directional felling of harvestable trees, as well as on marking and recording of potential crop trees and protected trees,” Ting asserted.

This will also ensure the health and safety for all forest workers; and reduce or mitigate any adverse impacts on local communities affected by timber harvesting operations.— DayakDaily