In the Media
Malaysia: No doubt forest encroached
October 20, 2011
No settlements or villages have ever been recorded in the Segarong Forest Reserve (Class I Protection) that was gazetted in 1931, 80 years ago, for protection of the environment and as a water catchment for Semporna.
Forestry Director Datuk Sam Mannan said aerial photo images taken in the 1950s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s reflected the virgin and extensive forest cover of Segarong. To re-enforce its conservation status, it was re-gazetted again in 1984 in a statewide exercise.
Unfortunately, over the last 10 years, encroachments crept in with land clearing and crop cultivation, primarily oil palm, so much so that, some 160 hectares (eight per cent) of the total 2,029 hectares, have been plundered with illegal immigrant workers providing labour and a handful of locals as the ultimate beneficiaries, he said.
Furthermore, he said the enforcement work against such violators was not restricted to Semporna alone but is carried out successfully throughout the State, including reserves such as Ulu Kalumpang, Andrassy, Madai-Baturong, Sapagaya, Ulu Segama, Garinono and Semporna mangrove reserves amongst others.
Sam said out of the approximately 40,000 hectares of illegal oil palm in forest reserves, at least 20,000 hectares have been retrieved, destroyed and replanted with forest trees by the Forestry Department.
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Keywords: Asia, deforestation, degradation, encroachment, Forest, Malaysia, reserve, Segarong