PETALING JAYA: An environmental NGO has raised the alarm over large-scale logging in Pahang’s Nenasi forest reserve.
RimbaWatch said satellite imagery showed that logging in the forest reserve, which is part of the southeast Pahang peat swamp forest complex, began in January, affecting two areas of about 1,460ha and 866ha, respectively.
“RimbaWatch believes that industrial-scale logging in one of Asia’s most important peatlands is contrary to Malaysia’s domestic and international commitments to preserve peatlands, and is mutually exclusive to the aims of the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) to provide timber from ‘sustainably managed forests’,” it said in a statement.
The group said the peatlands have ecological importance, and highlighted their status as the largest contiguous peat swamp forest complex in peninsular Malaysia and potentially in all of mainland Asia.
It also said the complex not only hosts a diverse range of endangered and vulnerable species, but also operates as a carbon-intensive ecosystem, playing a crucial role in ecosystem regulation.
Citing a plantation company’s quarterly update report, RimbaWatch questioned the logic of allowing logging in an area that has received millions of ringgit worth of conservation funding for tree planting, peatland and ecosystem restoration.
It called for a halt to logging activities in the Nenasi forest reserve, the establishment of the entire southeast Pahang peat swamp forest complex as a protected area in co-management with local Orang Asli communities, and the nomination of the complex as a Ramsar site.
It also urged amendments to the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and MTCS standards to exclude timber activities from peat swamp forests from any certification options.
FMT has reached out to the natural resources, environment and climate change ministry for comment.