Palm oil pressures ‘threaten Borneo’s forests’

The head of a Malaysian environment group says the plundering of forest resources on Borneo has become so widespread that even protected forests and forest reserves are not spared, reports The Star newspaper

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) president S M Mohamed Idris said this was in addition to land clearing insecondary forests or native customary rights land in Sarawak, one of the two Malaysian states on Borneo.

These protected forests and forests reserves are being blatantly encroached on and cleared of timber so oil palm plantations and pulpwood estates can be developed, he said.

Mohamed Idris added that SAM recently discovered that the Sarawak Forests Department had licensed out some 2.8 million hectares of forested land to 40 plantation concessions.

This meant at least 23% of Sarawak’s land mass was now under department concessions for plantations, he said.

He added that information from environmental impact assessment (EIA) reports on the 40 concessions showed many of them were within protected forests and forest reserves.

He urged the state government to be more transparent in its land development policies.

Source: The Malaysian Star

Date: 16/08/2008

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