Implementing sustainable forest management in Sarawak and Sabah | WWF

Implementing sustainable forest management in Sarawak and Sabah

Posted on 26 November 2015
Map of the project region marked in magenta.
© WWF-Malaysia
Kuching, SARAWAK: Forest Department Sarawak and WWF-Malaysia are holding a workshop to help strengthen sustainable forest management implementation in timber concessions in Sarawak and Sabah.
The two-day workshop, from 26-27 November 2015, aims at sharing and discussing the results of desktop analyses and preliminary field assessments for pilot project areas in Kubaan-Puak area in Sarawak and FMU 5 in Sabah.
It also aims at sharing ideas among stakeholders comprising government agencies, timber companies, civil societies, and local communities on pilot project activities that can be implemented in 2016 and 2017 in both states.
The workshop is part of the Sustainable Forest Management initiative in the East Malaysia states spearheaded by Forest Department Sarawak and WWF-Malaysia, and supported by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
The Forest Department Sarawak Director, Tuan Haji Sapuan Ahmad, who officiated the opening of the workshop at a leading hotel here today, said his department is committed in finding ways to promote co-benefit sharing of natural resources between the government, industries and the people.
Tuan Haji Sapuan added one of the ways to improve sustainable forestry in the State is to have sustainable forest management (SFM) implemented in timber concession areas.
The state government is all out for SFM implementation as it will lead towards certification which is pivotal in ensuring that all timber produced and exported meet the international sustainability standards in the very near future, he said.
For a start, he hoped that the Forest Management Units (FMUs) within the Kubaan-Puak area in Baram will carry out SFM in their concessions.
Tuan Haji Sapuan said, “The department acknowledges FMUs are important areas for their economic activities as a result of timber production   but these FMUs are also vital  for communities living in the area who largely depend on the forests.”
“In Kubaan-Puak area, the government acknowledges the presence of the communities comprising the Penans and who have also has designated the Magoh Biosphere Reserve several years ago. The local communities need the forests, which provide them with vital ecosystem services  and goods such as clean water, food, natural remedies  and much more.”
“As there are communities living in these FMUs, private companies need to find ways to deal with the communities’ use of the forests and how logging operations can be carried out in an  environmentally friendly, economically successful and socially appropriate manner,” he said.
About 100 people are attending this workshop including 30 Penans representing eight settlements in Kubaan-Puak area.
Prior to this workshop, in Sarawak, WWF-Malaysia and the Forest Department have carried out preliminary assessment in Kubaan-Puak FMUs. The department and WWF-Malaysia have held a series of workshops with government agencies and civil societies in Kuching and Miri, as well as dialogues with communities in Kubaan-Puak, and socio-economic and resource use surveys among Penans.
The goal of the Sustainable Forest Management initiative in East Malaysia: Kubaan-Puak Forest Management Unit in Sarawak & FMU 5 in Sabah Project is to develop a model for SFM in a tropical forest landscape which is environmentally friendly, economically successful and socially appropriate.
This pilot project was carried out in Sarawak and Sabah since early 2015. The project area spans about 360,000 hectares, covering multiple forest management units, between Mulu National Park and Pulong Tau National Park in Sarawak; and FMU 5  in the Trus Madi Forest Reserve in Sabah. The project is part of the Heart of Borneo (HoB) Corridor Initiative by the governments of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Tuan Haji Sapuan further reiterated that the project area fits well into HoB Corridor Initiative which was deliberated upon in a recently concluded international workshop held in Kuching in early November.
“The Sarawak Government has acknowledged the importance of the successful implementation of the HoB Corridor Initiatives. I call upon all timber operators and FMUs to support this,” he stressed.
He also recorded his word of thanks to his counterpart agency, the Sabah Forest Department and also WWF-Malaysia for their participation and continuous support for this project.
“Two weeks ago, the Forest Department Sarawak signed an MoU with WWF-Malaysia to collaborate in specific areas of interest, including promotion of SFM. I am happy that we are moving forward in our collaboration. This workshop is indeed timely,” he said.
On a landscape perspective, it is important to form connectivity between protected areas in Sarawak and Sabah, and in Borneo as a whole. This is because different land uses, such as logging concessions, industrial tree and oil palm plantations, hydropower dams, urban and community use areas, have resulted in fragmentation of the landscape.

Wildlife populations and their movements have become restricted largely within protected areas, which are surrounded by many different types of land uses. For local communities, these different land uses pose stress to their traditional forms of land use and dependency on natural resources. This project, Sustainable Forest Management initiative in the East Malaysia, was conceived to help address these problems.

For further information, contact:
Zora Chan, Senior Communications Officer, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +60 82 247 420   Email: 
Rumaizah Mohammad Abu Bakar, Head of Communications, WWF-Malaysia
Tel:   +603 7450 3773         Email:

About WWF-Malaysia
WWF-Malaysia (World Wide Fund for Nature-Malaysia) was established in Malaysia in 1972. It currently runs more than 90 projects covering a diverse range of environmental conservation and protection work, from saving endangered species such as tigers and turtles, to protecting our highland forests, rivers and seas. The national conservation organization also undertakes environmental education and advocacy work to achieve its conservation goals. Its mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the nation’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.  For latest news and media resources, visit
Map of the project region marked in magenta.
© WWF-Malaysia Enlarge