For a long time, activists had believed that rainforests in the vast northwest Borneo state of Sarawak were being logged unsustainably, rapidly making way for tree (acacia) plantations, oil palm plantations, dams and secondary growth. But few listened.
Their position was confirmed when the country’s auditor-general presented to Parliament in October its 2008 annual report criticising forestry management in Malaysia’s largest state as “unsatisfactory”. The Sarawak state authorities have denied the auditor-general’s findings.
The report produced a host of findings to back up its conclusion: depleted permanent forest reserves had not been replaced while some proposed forest reserves had not yet been gazetted. There was also no compulsory requirement for all logging license holders to obtain approved environment impact assessment reports before proceeding. Annual cut rates had been exceeded, if all forests were taken into account.
It noted that poor enforcement and monitoring had led to illegal logging and contributed to environmental degradation, especially river pollution, erosion, landslides, mud deposits and floods. Full article here.