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 Local

Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve focus for scientific research, ecotourism

11th July, 2018

By MOHD IZHAM B. HASHIM

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s natural wonders in the Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve in Sabdakan is set to be the focus for scientific research and ecotourism development with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement(MOA) yesterday between Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) and KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd.

“This joint research collaboration which is based on a matching grant totaling RM211,095 will cover three main objectives: wildlife population, silviculture management (growing and cultivation of trees) and ecotourism potential in KTS Plantations (KTSP),” said KTS Group of Companies deputy managing director Temenggong Dato Vincent Lao.

In his address at the signing ceremony, Vincent highlighted that the focus areas identified in the joint research initiative are critical for achieving sustainable forest management in the Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve (SLFR).

The signing marked the next phase of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish three-year agreement to enhance cooperation in research, training and academic partnership which was signed between the Sabah Forestry Department (SFD), UMS and KTSP. Situated in northeast of Deramakot Forest Reserve in Sandakan, the SLFR is one of the few areas with the highest biodiversity and concentration of rare, threatened and endangered endemic species in Sabah. Much of the reserve is undisturbed with pristine dipterocarp rainforest, and is being managed by KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd.

“The protection of the priceless endemic flora and fauna has always been one of our top priorities, but we feel it’s also important that we share the beauty of Sabah’s rainforests with the world,” said Vincent.

Apart from developing ecotourism attractions in the reserve, he said research collaboration in the Segaliud Forest Reserve serves as an important platform for the university to carry out research, student’s industrial training and thesis for final year projects.

“This joint-research initiative is a fantastic opportunity and we sincerely hope there will be many more collaborations of this nature in the future,” he said.

Meanwhile, UMS Vice Chancellor, Prof Datuk Dr Kamaruddin D. Mudin said the partnership between the University and KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd seeks to improve sustainable forest management practices through scientific research.

“With the signing, we hope this joint research initiative will further enhance understanding and provide better inputs to help resolve strategic challenges needed to improve sustainable forest management,” he said in his speech read by Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and International) Rasid Mail.

Meanwhile, Sabah Forestry Director Datuk Sam Mannan described the initiative as an important step to strengthen research and development activities between UMS and KTS on forest resource management. The text of his speech was delivered by SFD Deputy Chief Conservator of Forests (Research) Dr Robert Ong.

“This is an excellent initiative in line with the state government’s efforts to enhance the efficiency of sustainable forest management taking into account the three pillars of sustainability which covers social, environment and economic aspects,” Sam said. He said the state government remains committed to its mission to expand forest conservation efforts and remains on track to achieve its target of 30 per cent Totally Protected Areas (TPAs) by 2025, with current TPA area at 26 percent or 1.9 million hectares.

   
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