Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sabah conservation area will be four times Penang island size

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is piecing together a conservation area that will eventually become a key biodiversity zone about four times the size of Penang island.

State Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan said the Kuamut Forest Reserve would be expanded by 14,000ha as part of efforts to realise this massive conservation area that was an important habitat for orang utan and other wildlife.

“It is like piecing together the parts of a jigsaw puzzle. It will eventually be assembled,” he said yesterday.

On Thursday, the Sabah state assembly passed an amendment to the Forests (Constitution of Forest Reserves and Amendment) Enactment 1984.

The amendment, tabled by Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Ellron Angin, will see Class 1 totally protected forest reserves being increased from 1.26 million hectares to 1.35 million hectares.

The area for Class VI virgin jungle reserves has also been increased from over 106,000ha to more than 107,000ha as well as wildlife forest reserves from nearly 138,000ha to over 139,000ha.

However, the amendment will also provide for the removal of over 19,400ha of land from the existing forest reserves.

The department, said Mannan, was assembling a complex of protected areas comprising Kuamut, Ulu Segama, Dermakot and Segaliud Lokan forest reserves as well as the existing Maliau Basin and Danum Valley conservation zones.