Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sabah sees growth in protected areas through heart of Borneo

SANDAKAN: Sabah has doubled the ‘Totally Protected Areas’ from 800,000 hectares to 1.55 million hectares, about 21 per cent of the state, since the inception of the Heart of Borneo (HoB) initiative in 2007.

Sabah deputy state secretary Datuk Joseph Guntavid said the areas include the classification of new Class One Protection Forest Reserves, totalling some 137,000 hectares in the HoB linking key conservation areas such as the Danum Valley, Imbak Canyon and Maliau Basin.

“The State Government has also pledged to further increase its Totally Protected Areas to 30 percent or 2.1 million hectares of the state’s total land area over the next 10 years,” he said at the opening ceremony of the Ninth HoB Trilateral Meeting, officiated by Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Datuk Ir. Hamim Samuri here, today.

The HoB initiative is a government-led and NGO-supported programme initiated by a joint declaration by the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei in 2007.

Joseph added that the State Government has set aside 53 percent or about 3.9 million hectares of the state’s land mass as protected areas in the form of forest reserves, state parks, wildlife sanctuaries and conservation areas.

Joseph, who is Sabah HoB Committee Chairman, said much has been accomplished in the state through the HoB, including awareness raising through the annual HoB conference.