Friday, April 21, 2017

Sabah to expand protected rainforest coverage to 30% by 2025

KOTA KINABALU: A document has been inked for a landmark project which will increase the size of Sabah’s protected forest coverage to 30 per cent of the state’s total land area by 2025, from the current 26 per cent.

The ceremony, which took place yesterday at Cambridge, in the UK, saw the Sabah Forestry Department (SFD) signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Southeast Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP) for the initiative.

The Department’s Chief Conservator of Forests, Datuk Sam Mannan, said the project will involve the protection of an additional one million acres (404,685 hectares) of rainforest in Sabah using world-class science.

The exact locations of the new areas have yet to be identified.

“Over the past 20 years, we have worked to increase the extent of protected forests in Sabah by a factor of five to almost 1.9 million hectares today – equivalent to 26 per cent of the state’s land area, surpassing even the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)’s Aichi targets.

“The Sabah government is committed to increasing the extent of protected forests from the current 26 per cent to 30 per cent of land area by 2025. This is the work that lies ahead of us,” he said in a statement released here.

The strategic partnership also includes the Carnegie Institution for Science, the PACOS Trust and the BC Initiative, he added.