KOTA BHARU, Dec 7 — Sixteen of the 37 permanent forest reserves in Kelantan, mostly in the eastern district, had been encroached upon by illegal loggers in the last five years, said state Forestry Department director Abdul Khalim Abu Samah.
Nevertheless, he said the illegal loggers operated in small groups and the theft of logs was still under control.
“To date, we have detected 10 groups involved in illegal logging and some were arrested and had their machines and equipment seized,” he said when met at his office here today.
Abdul Khalim said the groups targeted high quality logs and were highly skilled in wood cutting.
He said the department had detected 27 cases of illegal logging in the state from March until now.
He said the illegal logging activities were in forest reserves in Lebir, Ulu Sat and Ulu Galas, located in the east and south of Kelantan respectively.
“During the latest operation in November, our department recorded three cases, namely two in Jeli and one in Tanah Merah.
“The cases involved encroachment of permanent forest reserves and possession of unregistered logs by a sawmill in Tanah Merah, believed to be from illegal sources,” he added. — Bernama