Forest Plantation status mere trick get timber - Kuantan MP

02 Jan 2022 11:09pm
The 'wood-debris' in
The 'wood-debris' in

KUANTAN - The change of status from Permanent Forest Reserve to Forest Plantation is likely to be the reason why of several locations near Kerau River and Telemong River have been cleared.

Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh said the change of status, according to the law, allows license holders to chop down trees for the purpose of forest cleaning.

This, she said, means the statement issued by the Pahang Forestry Department on no logging activities in the Bentong forests were not exactly false.

“The state department is not lying, it is true - there are no logging approvals but the department and state government needs to explain how many forest areas have been converted into Forest Plantations.

“They need to disclose these details because it is fact that once license status is changed, they can do land clearing.

“We want to know how many hectares of Permanent Forest Reserves have been approved to made Forest Plantations by the government across the state?” She asked when contacted by Sinar Harian yesterday.

On Thursday, the department stated that there were no logging activities be it legally or illegally in Lentang Forest Reserve, Bentong.

Its director Datuk Dr Mohd Hizamri Mohd Yasin stated that the ‘wood-debris’ flood at Jalan Bentong-Karak and Sri Telemong Bridge was caused by water surge due to continuous heavy rainfall for three three days starting Dec 16.

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Commenting further, Fuziah said, the change of status to the Forest Plantation can be considered as a 'trick' to get the timber without using a logging license She said since the logging activity was not allowed on Permanent Forest Reserve areas, the change to Forest Plantation status allows logging to happen legally under different circumstances.

“Forest plantation is not considered logging activities because it involves cleaning the forest which typically includes chopping the trees down.

“Obviously you would get the timber. This process also affects the hills.

“For the plantation license, once trees are cleared, they will replanted with palm trees, agar woods among others.

“However, there are also cases where Forest Plantation projects are left abandoned after the area has been fully cleared.

Forest plantation is a type of forest in which trees are planted, as opposed to naturally regenerated, of the same age and generally of the same species and intended to maximise to the production of wood fiber.

According to the Malaysian Timber Council, the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry has set a target to establish 375,000 hectare of forest plantations by 2020.

In 2003 the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) completed and handed over to the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC), an important study on the establishment of large scale forest plantations in Malaysia to alleviate the pressure on the country’s natural forests. Based on the study’s recommendations, MPIC set a target to establish 375,000 ha of forest plantations by 2020. The target is to plant 25,000 ha of forest plantations per year for 15 years, starting from 2005.

The council said the first forest plantation projects was due to mature in 2021 and are located in Kelantan, Pahang, Selangor and Sarawak with an expected yield of 3.78 million m³ of logs.

However, on Dec 2, 2021, the 79th Natioanl Land Council Meeting agreed in principle with the implementation of a 15-year moratorium on approvals for new forest plantations (monoculture plantations) in permanent reserved forests (PRF) in Peninsular Malaysia.

According to a statement by the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry on Dec 10, the moratorium only involved the remaining land approved that has not been awarded to any company or plantation operators by the state government.

It said the approval to develop new forest plantations by the state government to companies or existing plantations operators are not involved with the implementation of the moratorium