IPOH, April 30 — Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) president SM Mohamed Idris today raised concern over the increasing trend of monoculture plantations in permanent reserved forests in the country.
Mohamed Idris said the Federal government and several states in Peninsular Malaysia are still pursuing policies and approving large scale monoculture plantations such as timber latex clone plantations or Musang King durian plantations which can destroy natural forest.
He said Kelantan, Perak, Pahang and Kedah are among the states that actively implement monoculture plantation, involving a total of 350,410 hectares of land in permanent reserved forests.
“Monoculture plantation destroys the original forest cover (natural forest) through clear-felling harvesting methods.
“SAM objects to monoculture plantation development as it adversely impacts the functions of forest biodiversity,” he said in a statement.
Monoculture plantation is an agricultural practice of producing or growing a single species of plant or crop.
Mohamed Idris said policy on promoting the development of monoculture plantations within the permanent forest reserves should be abolished.
“Typically, the main reason monoculture plantation development project are approved is because the areas identified are defined as poor forests or degraded forests.
“It should be noted that forest reserve areas in Malaysia becomes a poor forest or degraded forest not by natural factors, but due to human factors, especially encroachment activities and illegal exploration,” he explained.
He said the authorities’ failure in monitoring and enforcing laws to act on illegal exploration and encroachment activities is also another reason,
Mohamed Idris said the development affects the livelihood of local communities, especially Orang Asli as they depend on the forest for water supply, settlements, burial ground and forest products.
In Kelantan, the monoculture development was has been reported in the Balah Forest Reserve while in Perak the Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve, Bukit Kinta Forest Reserve, Piah Forest Reserve and Bintang Hijau Forest Reserve are affected
While, in Kedah such activities were spotted in the Gunung Inas Forest Reserve and Bukit Enggang Forest Reserve and in Pahang are Lesung Forest Reserve and Jengka Forest Reserve.