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Friday, April 21, 2017
Landmark project to expand Sabah’s protected forest to 30% of land area by 2025
Sabah's famed Danum Valley Conservation Area
KINABALU: A landmark project aims to increase Sabah's protected forest to 30%
of the state's land area by 2025. More than 60 scientists from leading
international universities are spearheading it.
Forestry Department and South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership
(SEARRP) signed a memorandum of understanding for the project, which will draw
top scientists to support the government's rainforest protection efforts.
scientists, from leading universities in Britain, Europe, the United States,
Australia and Malaysia, witnessed the signing ceremony held at the Cambridge
Conservation Initiative's David Attenborough Building in England on Thursday.
the opening of a related meeting on the science of tropical rainforest
research, Sabah Forests chief conservator Datuk Sam Mannan said that forest
conservation is a major priority for the state government.
the past 20 years, we have worked to increase the extent of protected forests
in Sabah to almost 1.9 million hectares today.
is equivalent to 26% of the State's land area," he said.
surpassed the International Union of Conservation of Nature and Aichi
Biodiversity Target targets, he added.
In a speech
released to the media here, Mannan said the Sabah government was committed to
reaching its 2025 target.
will involve the protection of an additional one million acres (404,685ha) of
rainforest in Sabah. The location of these new areas has yet to be identified.
This is the work that lies ahead of us."
project is supported by the Rainforest Trust and based on the strategic
partnership of the Sabah Forestry Department, SEARRP, the Carnegie Institution
for Science, community-based organisation Pacos Trust, and BC Initiative.
director Dr Glenn Reynolds, who is leading the coordination of the project,
said: "Between now and 2020, the project will generate maps of forest
carbon, biodiversity and functional composition that will be integrated with
archived and new field observations."
habitat connections will be identified for various plant and animal species, he
said, with emphasis on those that provide important ecosystem services such as
pollination and dispersal.
This is to
ensure the usefulness of forest protection, over time, to cope with climate
the livelihood requirements of forest-dependent communities will be a vital
consideration in the selection of new protected areas," he added.
our partners Pacos Trust and BC Initiative, the project will consult with local
communities and stakeholders to reach consensus on an optimal scenario for
rainforest protection," he added.
project presents a unique window of opportunity to catalyse world-leading
science and protect an additional one million acres of rainforest – forest that
will otherwise face mounting and very imminent threats," he said.
The event was officiated by Prince William and also attended by
prominent scientists, philanthropies, NGOs and interested parties.