KOTA KINABALU: A review is currently ongoing on the Sabah State Strategic Plan of Action for 2021-2030 conservation efforts in Sabah.
State Forest Conservator chief Datuk Frederick Kugan said the review, which would be the third since Sabah Heart of Borneo (HoB) Initiative developed the first in 2007.
“Thanks to the financial support from WWF-Malaysia, a capture among others the achievements of Sabah HoB Initiative in the past 13 years and to identify next actions to support current and future conservation targets.
“It is envisioned that the Sabah Heart of Borneo Strategic Plan of Action for for 2021 – 2030 will provide a more holistic programmes for the implementation of the Sabah’s Heart of Borneo Initiative through biodiversity conservation and sustainable development programme in the State,” he said during the 11th series of International HoB conference which is being held virtually today.
HoB’s main objective is to protect and conserve a healthy and contiguous network of protected areas covering 22 million hectares of forest landscapes, through the re-establishment of forest corridors for connectivity and the promotion of sustainable land use practices within and surrounding these areas.
It also includes a landscape of about 3.9 million hectares in Sabah have been designated as part of the Heart of Borneo Initiative, a project initiated by three countries located in the island of Borneo – Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak), Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia.
By establishing 181,886ha Total Protected Areass over the years, Frederick said it has resulted in a contiguous protected areas of about 600,000 hectares that linked up key conservation areas ie Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon.
Greater conservation landscape achieved with the restoration of the river buffers, mandatory provision for riparian reserves, land acquisition, and mandatory animal-designate corridor within a licence or plantation areas among others.
To date, about 65% of the Sabah’s land mass are still covered with forests, of which 26% is gazetted as Totally Protected Areas (TPAs). We should be proud of the number achieved on TPAs thus far as it has exceeded the target set by the international union for conservation of nature (IUCN) that aims to conserve around 17% of terrestrial and inland water areas, plus a further 10% of coastal and marine areas.
“As the custodian of the forests, Sabah Forestry Department is confident that the currently practiced Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) will continue to be implemented as the concept and system not only meant to protect and conserve the forest resources particularly the forest reserves but also ensuring that economies and social agenda particularly the livelihood of the people in Sabah remains a priority. “