Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) objects to clear cut logging of trees covering 500 hectares in parts of Bukit Enggang Forest Reserve (Compartments 12, 13, 14 & 15 of HS Bukit Enggang) for the purpose of establishing a forest plantation (monoculture cultivation in a Permanent Reserved Forest).
The extractive activity (logging) by uncontrolled clear cutting of original forest trees had caused erosion of many watercourses and tributaries in the licensed area and also resulted in sediment deposition.
The impact of the destruction of watercourses and tributaries has affected the ecosystem and the community’s water resources, particularly in the nearby settlements.
SAM was informed that the project proponent/licensor/contractor have not submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report to the Department of Environment (DOE).
SAM objects to the establishment and development of the monoculture plantation in the Permanent Reserved Forest that has been approved by the State Authority because:
– When a forest land is converted into other land-use, especially forest plantation, it affects the biodiversity of the forest and its functions
– Most forest plantation projects do not follow the criteria for establishing forest estates, i.e. they are established in forest reserves that are not defined as poor forests; and
– Most areas of forest plantation projects are in the wildlife corridors, particularly habitat and roaming area of large mammals.
Justification by the Kedah Forestry Department that the proposed HS Bukit Enggang area for the forest plantation project is defined as poor forest is unacceptable as it was found that most of the harvested wood measure 55 centimeters and more.
Even the factors that cause a Permanent Reserved Forest area to be poor are not naturally caused but due to human factors.
As a result of poor management, monitoring and enforcement, a Permanent Reserved Forest area can be encroached and illegally exploited.
SAM had raised this matter to the Director General of Forestry, Peninsular Malaysia during a meeting with non-governmental organizations on 26 May 2017.
SAM also disagrees to the approval by the State Authority of other activities other than forest land-use in the Permanent Reserved Forest area (Compartment 18, HS Bukit Enggang).
The approval of quarrying within a Permanent Reserved area is unreasonable, besides contradicting and not in compliant with the resolution of the 70th meeting of the National Land Council.
The National Land Council had recommended that all State Authorities take initiatives to control and if possible avoid approval of mining activities in a Permanent Reserved Forest.
The National Land Council’s rationality is that mining and quarrying operations within a Permanent Reserved Forest will directly affect the implementation of sustainable forest management that is central to the management of the nation’s forests.
Hence SAM urges the State Authority to take appropriate action to deal with the uncontrolled exploitation of part of HS Bukit Enggang and the DOE to enforce the law if it is found that the project proponent/ licensor/contractor have not submitted the EIA Report for this project.
Media Statement, 21 December 2017