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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 Abdullah Praises Sabah's Sustainable Forest Management

SANDAKAN, June 8 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Thursday commended the Sabah state government under the leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman for having the strong political will to implement sustainable forest management.

Citing an example, he said that Musa had declined to approve many timber extraction applications which prompted some parties to meet him, in which he also refused.

Abdullah said this when he was briefed by Sabah Forestry Department director Sam Mannan on the Sustainable Forest Management Programme in Jeramakot Forest Reserve about 170km from here.

During the briefing, he also said Sabah had a good and well coordinated forest management programme.

He also suggested better rubber clone to be planted and replanting done so that people would have the latex to earn some income, and after 15 years the trees can be cut down as timber to make furniture.

He also said not only rubber trees had value but also oil palm trunks which could be turned into furniture as well as ethanol, and he discovered this during his visit in Japan.

Abdullah who spent almost three hours visiting the forest reserve witnessed the reduced impact logging methodology practice in harvesting timber from the forest where it could minimise the damages during the cutting and hauling of timber to the surrounding areas.

The method only uses one route to tow using tractors in order to minimise the damages to nearby trees.

He also witnessed skyline logging operation where cut logs were transported to nearby roads using cable.

During his visit, Abdullah also planted a "Bambangan" - a specie which is only found in the forest of Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatera and North Borneo.

Abdullah also said more research on forestry and biodiversity should be done by the department and Universiti Malaysia Sabah as well as the private sector.

However he said they must be very careful when having a collaboration with the private sector to prevent bio-piracy problem.

The Jeramakot Forest Reserve covers an area of 55,000 hectares of mixed dipterocarp forest.

As of May 2006, an area of 5,746 hectares have been harvested and a volume of 118,278 cubic metres of 21,505 trees extracted from the forest.


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