Sarawak denies NGO's claim on deforestation

An aerial view of the Bakun Hydroelectric Dam site in Sarawak shows forest around the area of the world's second highest concrete dam.Picture: Bernama

Saturday, March 3, 2012

SARAWAK government has rejected the claims made in a Dutch non-governmental organisation's "satellite imagery study" that showed that Malaysia was destroying forests more than three times faster than all of Asia combined and Sarawak was stripping its carbon-rich peat soils even faster.

Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times quoted Sarawak's Assistant Minister for Environment Datuk Len Talif as saying: "If we are clearing our forested areas at the rate of two per cent a year as claimed, by the year 2020, we would have no forests left."

Len was commenting on a Wetlands International study which claimed Sarawak was uprooting an average two per cent of its rain forests a year or nearly 10 per cent over the last five years.

"We have been involved in logging (and forest clearing for agriculture) for the last 50 to 100 years, yet we still have our forests.

"Eighty-four per cent of Sarawak is still covered by forests by the FAO (The Food and Agriculture Organisation) definition," Len was quoted by the paper, yesterday.

The Dutch NGO's report claimed "total deforestation in Sarawak is 3.5 times as much as that of entire Asia, while deforestation of peat swamp forests is 11.7 times as much".

The study was carried out by SarVision, a satellite monitoring and mapping company that originated with scientists at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

The Brunei Times

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