Logs from industrial plantations are fast becoming a major export for Sarawak as production from the natural forest has been reduced drastically. According to Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC), in the first half of 2019 Sarawak exported over 399,000 cu m of plantation logs, mainly acacia mangium, most of which was shipped to Indonesia, reported ITTO.
Of the total log export volume of 731,758 cu.m in the first six months of 2019, plantation logs accounted for about half. Acacia mangium exports have expanded rapidly since 2013 when some 147,100 cu.m was exported.
Records show there are 43 licensed forest plantation owners in Sarawak with around 420,000 ha. However, expansion of the planted area has fallen far short of the State target of one million ha. for 2020. A new target data 2025 has been adopted.
Trade analysts report that some Japanese companies have been testing acacia mangium and falcata as alternative raw material sources.
NON-TIMBER FOREST PRODUCTS
Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Assistant Minister, Len Talif Salleh, has reported that the Sarawak Forest Department was collaborating with various national and international agencies on research and development of species such as gaharu (agarwood).
Through a project in Ulu Menyang in Batang Ai, the local community plants gaharu to produce gaharu tea. The Department and NGOs assist in supplying seedlings, technical advice, monitoring and maintenance.
In related news, there is a proposal to plant bamboo in Undop, near Sri Aman. There is already a pilot project where 25 hectares have been planted with 13 species of bamboo.