SIK, Sept 12 — About 3,500 hectares of forest reserves in Kedah were detected to have been illegally cleared from 2011 until now, said Kedah Forestry Department (JPNK) director Muhamad Abdullah.
He said the illegal land exploration by irresponsible parties was mostly for agricultural purposes such as to plant oil palm, durian and rubber trees besides opening new settlements.
“For newly explored areas, we will conduct demolition and reforestation efforts while for areas that have been explored for a long time and produce yields, we will seek directives from the state government for further action.
“To date, we have detained 20 men in connection with several forest encroachment cases and the investigation papers are being prepared before we hand them over to the deputy public prosecutor.”
He said this to reporters after attending the tree plantation programme in conjunction with the 100 Million Tree-Planting Campaign 2021-2025 at Compartment 4 of the Bukit Enggang Forest Reserve here today.
Muhamad said illegal land encroachment activities in forest reserves could result in the destruction of biodiversity in the affected areas as well as the loss of forest products to the state government.
On the 100 Million Tree-Planting Campaign, he said JPNK aimed to plant 2.75 million trees in areas that have been identified in the state, with 550,000 trees to be planted annually until 2025. — Bernama