Bandar Seri Begawan - The Forestry Department has limited the local production of logs to not more than 100,000 cubic metres per year for the country's needs from 24 logging companies that are given the concession. Girth is also taken into account for logging where bigger trees are only allowed to be chopped.
Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources added only plantation trees should be cut and not our pristine or primer rainforest as it takes hundreds of years to grow. Plantation trees matured and cut in a short term are more proper and sustainable compared to primer forest.
This is the latest approach made by the Forestry Department which is being disseminated to the loggers.
And for every tree cut, four seedlings should be planted to increase the survival rate of replacing the tree that was cut.
Several forest conservation has been taken into account, especially in Kg Sg Liang as raised by YB Awg Hj Jumat bin Akim. Some 11,000 hectares of site have been allocated for forest treatment.
The minister also said the nursery in Kg Sg Liang provides some 300,000 seedlings to be re-planted at former logging sites and this effort is made by collecting the seedlings during the flowering season.
On the need to use rich forest resources like herbs in certain areas, the minister said it is a good decision. He added that the Forestry Department is carrying out baseline data to identify the richness of our forest especially on the types of herbs to allow for commercialisation.
Touching on the Luagan Lalak Recreational Area in Belait District, which is a tourist destination and the minister welcomes moves on the need to build and develop accommodation facilities by any parties such as from the private sector.
Responding to YB Awg Hj Sulaiman bin Hj Ahad's query on re-planting commercial trees like Kumala and Kapor aswell as what actions are being taken by the ministry at the former quarrying site in Amo, the minister said he would look into it.
Meanwhile, YB Awg Hj Ramli bin Hj Lahit questioned the need to monitor drivers carrying logs that can damage the roads. He added that such transportation of logs has also caused many small trees and valuable plants to be destroyed and uprooted while the §oil also blocks the river flow.
The minister said his ministry is working with the Land Transport Department on this matter. The road is for logging, but the damage is monitored.
On the issue of peat swamp as raised by YB Awg Hj Mohd Shaflee bin Ahmad, the minister said if such a hydrology is disturbed and river flow damaged, it could lead to flooding. The Forestry Department is looking at efforts to bring back life in peat swamps by following the methods used by Indonesia.
"We have instructed that peat swamps should not be touched for development. For instance, paddy planting and production is also not allowed at peat swamp areas in rural Tutong and Temburong areas to preserve its richness," the minister said.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin