Foresters knowledgeable in HCVs to be in demand

Knowledgeable foresters on High Conservation Values (HCVs) identification, management and monitoring practices will be in high demand as Sarawak moves towards having all of its Forest Management Units (FMUs) certified by 2022.

As such, Forest Department Sarawak (FDS), Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), Sarawak Timber Association (STA) and WWF-Malaysia are collaborating to produce a set of HCV Training Modules for the state.

The training modules will be used by local practitioners to equip them with the relevant expertise and skill sets to identify, manage and monitor the different attributes of HCVs, said Forest Department director Hamden Mohammed.

“This will ensure that these HCVs in every FMU are properly identified, conserved and monitored,” he said in a statement yesterday.

A field-testing workshop to obtain feedback on the draft modules took place at the Samling Central Base Camp (CTB) and Gerenai FMU in Upper Baram, Miri Division, from May 5 to 10.

The HCV Training Modules are tailor-made to the conditions and requirements of Sarawak. The field-testing workshop gathered valuable feedback from personnel of FDS, SFC, STA and timber companies who have knowledge or experience on HCV subject matters.

WWF-Malaysia head of Conservation for Sarawak, Dr Jason Hon, said they aspire to assist the government towards a better and more sustainable management of forests.

“The proper assessment of HCVs is an integral aspect of the certification process, hence the development of this HCV Training Modules for Sarawak,” he said.

Dr Yap Son Keong, an experienced Forest Management Certification auditor and HCV assessor, was the key facilitator. In the course of developing the training modules, Yap obtained technical input from local agencies such as FDS and SFC, and the civil society WWF-Malaysia.

The HCV Training Modules will undergo a stakeholder consultation after June 2019, to be followed by the finalisation soon after.

WWF-Malaysia will undertake the finalisation and printing of the HCV Training Modules, as a joint product by FDS, SFC, STA and WWF-Malaysia, expected in the second half of 2019.