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Sarawak makes 80pc forest preservation commitment, but some have doubts

17 6 8

THE MALAYSIAN state of Sarawak is committing to the preservation of 80 percent of its land area as primary and secondary forest, according to an announcement by Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg made Feb 26 in the city of Kuching. But some in the conservation community are expressing doubt that these promises will come to fruition.

Occupying the northern coast of Borneo, Sarawak’s rainforests are home to unique, disappearing species like endangered proboscis monkeys and critically endangered Bornean orangutans. But plantation agriculture, timber harvesting and other development pressures have supplanted many areas of Sarawak forest, with data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO) finding natural forest covered just under 65 percent of the state in 2010. Other research indicates the amount of 2010 forest coverage may be closer to 57 percent – much of that heavily degraded by logging, according a 2013 assessment.

But in a speech presented to attendees of a business networking event called The Sarawak Dialogue, Chief Minister Abang Johari indicated the state will be working to preserve and restore the state’s rainforests.

SEE ALSO: Malaysia: NGOs write to........

© Asian Correspondent