SANDAKAN: Over 50 per cent or 3.9 million hectares of land in Sabah have been earmarked for forest reserves and wildlife conservation areas, said Sabah Forestry Department chief conservator, Mashor Mohd Jaini.
He said the success of the tropical rainforest protection and conservation programme in the state was due to the forest, wildlife conservation and parks enactments.
“Through sustainable forest management policies, sufficient land area could be reserved and managed for conservation,” he said at the closing of the Environmental Education Course for Teachers here today.
According to Mashor, the state government had also decided that 30 per cent of the tropical rainforest area in the state would be gazetted as fully protected area by 2025.
He said in the last two years, totally protected areas covered almost 1.9 million hectares or 25 per cent of the total area of Sabah which was equivalent to 18 times the size of the state of Penang.
Mashor added that the Deramakot Forest Reserve was a fine example of a natural reserve which had been certified well managed by an international certification body, the Forest Sterwardship Council Standard' in 1997.
In addition, he said, the country's largest Ramsar site covering an area of 78,000 hectares is situated in Kinabatangan.
However, he said there were also challenges facing sustainable forest management, among them low returns, high cost of forest conservation, illegal occupation and farming on forest reserve land.
Thirty-one teachers from 28 secondary schools in the state attended the six-day course initiated by the Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sepilok. — BERNAMA