MIRI (August 28): The Sarawak Timber Association (STA) thanks the Sarawak Forest Department Sarawak (SFD) for confirming that the traffic jam at the Baleh hydroelectric dam site was caused by wood debris pushed into the river by heavy and prolonged rains.
In a press release yesterday, the STA thanked the SFD and other agencies for promptly carrying out a preliminary ground check and aerial surveillance in connection with the reported standoff.
“This sparked an uproar from various parties and the blame was placed only on logging companies carrying out timber harvesting operations in timber licenses in the Baleh watershed upstream of the Baleh Dam site.
“STA wishes to clarify that the timber harvesting operation in the Baleh watershed is only carried out after the approval of the SFD and the issuance of permits,” the statement said.
In addition, the press release states that the STA considers it necessary to emphasize the difference between salvage logging and selective logging.
“Salvage logging is approved to minimize loss of commercial timber in the area that will be submerged. Salvage logging is only carried out for government approved projects such as the development of hydroelectric dams.
“This is not a common practice in a normal harvest where selective logging is carried out, and STA would like to stress that STA members do their best to manage the forests in their concessions in accordance with international standards. “the statement added.
Therefore, the STA expressed its deep concern about the negative portrayal of the forest industry in this incident and the impact this could have on the reputation of the forest industry and its ripple effects resulting in loss of resources. jobs that will affect the livelihoods of the people of Sarawak.
“In this regard, STA urges all stakeholders to engage and contribute collectively to overcome these challenges. The STA also fully supports the decision of the Sarawak government to form a special task force committee to fully investigate the incident and find solutions to minimize the risk of it happening again in the future.
“STA will do its best to help the Sarawak government alleviate the problems by being part of the task force,” he concluded.