KOTA KINABALU, Dec 1 — The forest restoration and conservation plan in Sabah needs to be supported by all parties especially the Sustainable Forest Management Licence Agreements (SFMLA) concessionaires, downstream industry players as well as related non-governmental organisations (NGO), said Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor.
In regard to this, he said the state Forestry Department should continue and strengthen the cooperation and involvement of all related parties to ensure the forest restoration and conservation agenda towards sustainable management of Sabah’s forests will be effectively implemented.
He said praise should be given to the SFMLA concession as well as Forest Management Unit (FMU) which has maintained compliance certification in forest management and also to all conservation partners for their contributions.
“It is hoped that the Forestry Department will play an active role in driving the development of ecotourism which has been identified as a key economic pillar in the Sabah Maju Jaya Roadmap (SMJ),’’ he said in a statement, today.
Hajiji said ecotourism and forestry are interconnected as forests in Sabah are habitats to various biodiversity including the world’s tallest Dipterocarp trees, orangutans, elephants, bears and tembadau (a species of cattle) which were the main attractions for domestic and international tourists to Sabah.
“However, I believe that as an international ecotourism sector, there is much to be explored and improved, especially after this (Covid-19) pandemic. I hope forests in Sabah will continue to function well for the Heart of Borneo Initiative in line with SMJ’s aspirations.
“I commend the Forestry Department on its initiative for taking the initial steps towards achieving green sustainability by ensuring that 30 per cent or 2.2 million hectares of Sabah’s forests become Fully Protected Areas by 2025,” he added. — Bernama