BINTULU: The Sarawak State Government has appointed Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Bintulu Campus as the Forest Research Hub in Sarawak in collaboration with the Sarawak Forest Department.
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri (Dr) Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari Tun Datuk Abang Openg said a total of RM10.95 million had been allocated by the state government to implement the cooperation which was divided into three phases.
He explained that the first phase of the cooperation requires funds amounting to RM4.15 million while the second and third phases require funds of RM6.8 million.
“Through this collaboration, we can sustainably build capabilities and skills, enabling researchers to research related topics needed in the field of forest resource management.
"Lack of research capacity coupled with lack of qualified and highly skilled manpower will hamper our efforts in addressing and resolving forest resource management issues," he said while officiating the International Conference On Forest Resources Management themed 'Integrating Knowledge For Improvement' at Promenade Hotel Bintulu on Friday.
According to him, under the Post-Covid-19 2030 Development Strategy, the forestry sector in Sarawak has the vision to be known worldwide in the sustainable management of biodiversity and tropical forest conservation while accelerating the rapid development of the logging industry.
Forest management practices will focus on balancing the rate of deforestation and development, increasing the number of products as well as improving services obtained from forests.
“These initiatives include restoring 200,000 hectares of degraded forest areas, certification of 4.5 million hectares of long-term forest license areas by 2022 and planting 178,000 hectares of forests by 2025 under the Malaysia Timber Certification Scheme and Forest Stewardship Council.
"The Sarawak government has allocated a development fund of RM62 million under the 12th Malaysia Plan (RMK12) to conserve forests in Sarawak," he added.
He added that the State Government is also exploring new income opportunities from forest sources through Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES).
According to the Chief Minister, the Sarawak Forest Department has no choice but to make full use of the latest technology to monitor Sarawak's forest resources using satellite imaging and reconnaissance, airborne hyperspectral sensing and LIDAR.
Earlier, Sarawak Forest Department director Datu Hamden Mohammad said the objective of the conference was as a platform for all experts to share experiences and manage forest resources sustainably.
In addition, the two-day conference also aims to collect scientific research data and findings that will help identify and prioritize research focus areas in management and industry aspects.
According to him, the conference has four sub-themes namely Forest Restoration And Social Forestry; Forest Governance, Technology and Engineering; Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Services.
"We received 45 topics from nine countries, namely Malaysia, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Singapore, Italy and the Philippines with 19 oral presentations and 26 posters."
According to him, the Sarawak Forest Department has also started Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) and Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) for the harvesting operating system as it realizes the importance of utilizing forest resources sustainably.
He also informed that the conservation project to be implemented around the Baleh Hydro Dam has been identified as important as connectivity for wildlife.
He said the collaboration project between the Sarawak Forest Department and WWF-Malaysia, Sarawak Energy Berhad and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) was part of the integrated water catchment management in maximizing the economy and social welfare without compromising ecosystem and environmental sustainability.
During the ceremony, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the State Government and Unimas was handed over by Datu Hamden to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of UNIMAS (Studies and Innovation), Prof. Dr Wan Hashim Wan Ibrahim.
In the afternoon, the Chief Minister paid a working visit to the Central Academic Complex, Forest Nursery and Forest Conservation Project Site, UPM Bintulu Campus.
He then moved to the UPM Bintulu Campus Conference Hall to listen to a briefing delivered by the Vice-Chancellor of UPM, Professor Dr Mohd Roslan Sulaiman.
Also present were Sarawak Minister of Utilities, Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom; Minister in the Chief Minister's Department (Integrity and Ombudsman), Datuk Talib Zulpilip, Sarawak State Secretary, Datuk Amar Jaul Samion and other dignitaries. - UKAS EDITION
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Date of Input: 13/12/2021 | Updated: 27/04/2022 | lanz
97008 Bintulu, Sarawak,