THE Class 1 Forest Reserves (Protection) in Sabah has been increased by a further 2.43 percent from 1,353,677.66 hectares to 1,386,614.62 hectares following the amendment to the Forests (Constitution of Forest Reserves and Amendment) (Amendment) 2017 by the State Legislative Assembly yesterday.
“The total State Forest Reserves after the dissolution, establishment and reclassification of forest reserves is 3,540,748.874 hectares which constitute an increase of about 474.66 hectares or 0.013 percent as compared to the year 2016,” said Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister, Datuk Ellron Angin when presenting the bill at the August House yesterday.
He also said that following the re-classification and establishment of the forest reserves, the Totally Protected Area (TPA) in Sabah had increased to 25.9 percent or 1,906,896.204 hectares as compared to only 1,874,061.544 hectares (25.46 percent) in 2016.
The enactment will come into operation on January 1, next year.
Ellron added that he was confident the government will be able to achieve 30 percent of TPAs by the year 2025 as planned.
Nevertheless, Class II Forest Reserves (Commercial) have decreased from 1,668,272.95 hectares to 1,659,899.95 hectares.
Also reduced was the Class III Forest Reserves (Domestic) which went down from 4,673 hectares to 4,656 hectares following the amendment as well as the Class V Forest Reserves (Mangrove) from 256,009.27 hectares to 232,039.29 hectares and the Class VI Forest Reserves (Virgin Jungle Reserve or VJR) which was decreased from 107,013.914 hectares to 106,911.614 hectares.
Following the amendment, five forest reserves covering 4,592 hectares were abolished while nine forest reserves covering 5,066.66 hectares were established.
At the same time, two Class II forest reserves (Commercial) of about 8,539 hectares and five Class V Forest Reserves (Mangrove) of about 23,970 hectares were reclassified to Class I Forest Reserves (Protection), he said.
Following the amendment, a total of eight hectares of the Leila Forest Reserve Class I are to be excised for a church and dam that existed before World War I and a total of 1,446 hectares of the Sugut Forest Reserve Class I are also to be excised for land swap for the existing titled lands. It was mentioned that the areas were important for wildlife corridor.
Also excised was the 3,000 hectares of the Sg Mangkuwagu Forest Reserve Class II for village purposes as well as 17 hectares of the Tatahan Forest Reserve Class III for government purposes. The 121 hectares of the Malawaring Forest Reserve Class VI was also excised for village purposes.
Meanwhile, about 481 hectares of forests in Tenom will be constituted as Forest Reserve Class I and will be named as Gn. Lumaku Forest Reserve (Extension) Class I.
According to Ellron, the areas were important as water catchments.
Similarly, another 63.90 hectares of forests in Kalabakan would be constituted as Forest Reserve Class I and will be named as Mount Louisa Forest Reserve (Extension II) Class I as they had high conservation value.
Another 478 hectares of forests in Nabawan will also be constituted as Forest Reserve Class I and will be named as Sungai Sebungali Forest Reserve Class I as they also have high conservation values and served as water catchment area.
Also constituted as Forest Reserve Class I are the 37 hectares of forests in Tongod to be named Gunung Tinkar Forest Reserve (Extension) Class I; the 635.37 hectares of proposed water catchment area of Kolosunan, Inanam which will be named Kolosunan Forest Reserve Class I which was the only water source for the Babagon Dam; the 26.3 hectares of state land in Bukit Hampuan, Ranau which will be named Bukit Hampuan Forest Reserve (Extension II) Class I for its high conservation value and habitat for butterfly species endemic to the area; and 160.39 hectares of water catchment area of Pulau Sebatik in Tawau which will be named Pulau Sebatik Forest Reserve Class I.
The 3,166 hectares of Temporary Occupation License (TOL) will be constituted as Forest Reserve Class II and to be named as Lalampas Forest Reserve Class II while the 5,335 hectares of Sg Magkuwagu Forest Reserve Class II will be reclassified as Forest Reserve Class I and to be renamed as Sungai Mangkuwagu Forest Reserve Class I as the area has high conservation value.
Also reclassified were the 3,204 hectares of the Sg Pinangah Forest Reserve Class II which was reclassified as Forest Reserve Class I and to be renamed as Sungai Imbak Buffer Zone forest Reserve (Extension II) Class I and the 3,867 hectares of the Menumbok Forest Reserve Class V which was reclassified as Forest Reserve Class I and to be renamed as Menumbok Forest Reserve Class I.
Source: The Borneo Post