KOTA KINABALU, 3 Dec 2019:
In tackling deforestation in the state, the state government ensures that about 50% of Sabah’s land area is always under forest cover and sufficient to provide ecosystem services like watershed areas and habitats for flora and fauna.
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the overall forest cover in Sabah at the end of the 1980s was estimated at 44,750 sq km – slightly over 60% of the Sabah’s total land area of 73,631 sq km.
In 2010, around 37,600 sq km or 51% of the Sabah’s land area was covered with forest, he said.
“In combating deforestation in the state, the government is under an obligation to ensure that about 50% of Sabah’s land area is always under forest cover and sufficient to provide ecosystem services like watershed areas and habitats for flora and fauna.
“The average deforestation rate of 0.75% per annum from 1990 to 2010, however, has nearly halved when compared with the 1980s,” he said at the opening ceremony of ‘Wood and Biofibre International Conference 2019 here today.
Mohd Shafie said the Sabah government was able to maintain the total forest cover over the years through its Sabah Forest Policy 2018, which stipulated that every dissolution of the forest reserve area must be replaced with an area of the same size or something bigger.
He said apart from natural forests, Sabah also has a vast area of forest plantations.
He added since 2012, Sabah has established about 226,000ha of forest plantations, of which about 55% are cultivated with high-value commercial species.