Sustainable Forest Conservation

By:

Muhammad Sha'ani bin Abdullah

Affiliations:

CSO Platform for Reform - Environmental Sector

Policy Code:

3j Environment

Problem Statement:

There is growing concern about the correlation between deforestation and epidemics, floods, water supply, food security, and public health. Malaysian society has long considered the importance of forest in respect to exploitation of natural resources, such as logging, hunting, mining, or forest conversion.
Environmental degradation caused by deforestation and hunting not only increases the risks of spreading diseases but also diverts healthcare resources.
Many water catchments already have agriculture and urban activities at the lower reaches, affecting both water quantity (through abstraction) and quality (through pollution) above the intake points. With population growth, the demand for water both for agriculture and for urban and industrial uses grows while supply dwindles as water catchments are not adequately protected and managed.
Forest lands for resource extraction or development is frequently done without proper oversight by the state legislative assemblies. It is crucial that state governments transform the core of forest economics from resource extraction into ecological protection. The current laws relating to forestry and wildlife cannot fulfill this.

Value(s) and Belief(s):

The wide ranging ecosystem functions provided by forests such as nutrient cycle, primary production, supply of food, water, fuel, wood/fiber, genetic resources, climate regulation (rain, flood, drought…), regulation of disease and pests, water regulation as well as social and cultural values for economic growth and human well-being should recognized.

Proposal of Solution:

With the latest IPCC report on the impact of climate change, it’s the duty of Federal Government to ensure proper legislative mechanisms are in place to ensure all state governments fulfill Malaysia’s commitment to international multi-lateral treaties. This is to ensure Malaysia fulfills all environmental targets as well to protect the welfare of its citizens from the climate crisis.
1. The National Forestry Act needs to be progressive in classifying the forest according to its environmental functions. It must be strictly enforced in every state in order to protect all life against negative environmental impacts.
2. The National Land Code must be amended to provide governance of all land management and land use by all state authorities by incorporating meaningful public consultation procedures. The degazettement of permanent forest reserves and wildlife reserves should come under the purview of state legislative assemblies (DUNs).

Translation

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