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Forest Department Sarawak
Research ActivitiesResearch Activities

Research Activities

 

i. ForestGeo Lambir 52-ha Long-Term Ecological Research

Centre for Tropical Forest Sciences (CTFS) is now known as Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO). ForestGEO is a global network of forest research sites and scientists dedicated to the study of tropical and temperate forest function and diversity.

 

Database Status:

Census 1: 1991-1992- completed

Census 2: 1997- completed

Census 3: 2002-2003-completed

Census 4: 2007-2008-completed

Census 5: 2016-2018 –field work completed

-In progress of data screening

 

Data can be requested from: https://forestgeo.si.edu/explore-data

 

 

ii. Management Unit

Forest plays a major role in Malaysia, not only it brings economic importance but also for the balance of ecosystem and social that provides to people and nature. Sarawak contributes the most forest cover for Malaysia, thus it is vital that the forests are being well managed and its significant value is protected. The outstanding significance of biologically, ecologically, social or cultural values are known as high conservation values. Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) includes the concept of High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) as one of the nine principles determining how forest should be well managed and assessed following Malaysian Criteria & Indicators (MC&I Natural Forest) for Forest Management Certification. In Malaysia, the Malaysian Toolkit for High Conservation Value Forest (WWF 2009) has been specifically designed for that purpose. As it is developed in accordance to national development of standards by the forestry regulatory authorities and stakeholders, Forest Department of Sarawak adopted the Toolkit for the identification and management of High Conservation Value Area (HCVA) in Sarawak.

There are six HCV attributes to be identified (Table 1), and if there is any, it is to be manage and monitor. Under forest management certification requirement, all long term forest timber licenses are required to identify any HCV attributes occurring within their forest management units, and to manage and monitor them in order to maintain or to enhance the values in identified forest areas. Maintenance of HCVA is one of the most difficult certification requirements to be undertaken without the expertise of the component required for the HCVA. Therefore, Forest Department of Sarawak is embarking on the research in intensifying the HCVA in forest management unit. The research study is not only to ensure forest activities does not have negative impacts of the identified HCV but also to have collaboration with the forest managers and timber industries, as well as to provide recommendations to manage the HCVA accordingly to forest policy and standards.

 

Table 1: Types of HCV defined by Forest Stewardship Council

HCV

Element

1

Forest areas containing globally, regionally or nationally significant concentrations of biodiversity values

l  Protected areas

l  Threatened and endangered species

l  Endemic species

l  Critically temporal use

2

Forest areas containing globally, regionally or nationally significant large landscape level forests

3

Forest areas that are in or contain rare, threatened or endangered ecosystems

4

Forest areas that provide basic services of nature in critical situations

l  Forests critical to water catchments

l  Forests critical to erosion control

l  Forests providing barriers to destructive fire

5

Forest areas fundamental to meeting basic needs of local communities (e.g. subsistence, health)

6

Forest areas critical to local communities’ traditional cultural identity

 



iii. Maintenance and monitoring of Ramin Trial Planting Plot in Bukit Lima N.R, Sibuti WS and Maludam NP.
  • Funding: Divisional (B35) and Development Project (P17)
  • Duration: 2016 - Present

G. bancanus is subject to anthropogenic pressure therefore actions taken to ensure long term survival and longevity of this species. The improvement of this species can be achieved by providing action plan through conservation activities such as Ex-situ conservation of Ramin through trial planting.

 

Currently there are 3 trial planting plot of Ramin established in Bukit Lima Nature Reserve (Sibu), Sibuti Wildlife Sanctuary (Miri) and Maludam National Park.

 

The size of each of the trial planting plot is 1 hectare with the shape of equal square sizes 100 m x 100 m EXCEPT the plot in Sibuti WS which is 50 m x 100 m due to unsuitability caused by the existing vegetation. Ramin Seedlings were planted at 5 m x 5 m intervals.

Plot Locality

Number of seedlings

Bukit Lima N.R

440

Sibuti W.S

220

Maludam N.P

440

TOTAL

1100





iv. Establishment of Permanent Ecological Research Plots in the Existing and Proposed Totally Protected Areas (TPAs)
  • Funding: Project RMK11 2016-2020 (P17/ 530509)
  • Duration: 2016-2020

The major component of this project is the permanent plot establishment within the selected TPA’s. These plots will provide the platform for researchers and institutes to continue on conducting detailed research studies. The selected TPAs are GunungGading NP, Maludam NP, Proposed NP Kelingkang Range, Samunsam Wildlife Sanctuary, Bako National Park, GunungMulu National Park and Lambir Hills National Park.

The studies conducted within these plots are on environment mostly on soil classification, soil properties and water qualities, floristic studies on tree inventories and herbaceous plants and fauna studies mostly concentrate on insects.

 

The objectives of this project are

i. To establish permanent ecological research plot for biodiversity studies such as flora, fauna diversity and environmental studies (soil, water etc)

ii. To document flora, fauna and environmental information contained within each areas.

iii. Capacity building of local researchers to increase their skills through implementation of research in forestry related activities.

 

Output:

i. Successfully established 13 permanent ecological research plots. Each plot is the size of 1 ha with layout of 100 m x 100 m.

ii. Each plot is assigned with signboards to indicate the entrance leading to plot.

iii. Published a handbook on titled “Establishment of Permanent Ecological Research Plots in Sarawak” based on the establishment method used for this project.

 


v. Non-detriment Findings Report on Gonystylus bancanus (Ramin)
  • Funding: Kementerian Air, Tanah danSumber Asli (KATS) - RMK-11 (2020) Akta 686
  • Duration: 2020

An assessment on Gonystylus bancanus in the Production Area (PFEs) and Totally Protected Areas (TPAs) of Sarawak is necessary for providing the information on the current status of Ramin in the wild essential in determining the annual harvest quota for G. bancanus. This data collected will give indicate on Ramin population stand and abundance as required for the Non Detriment Finding (NDF) report for G. bancanus and will contribute to the conservation and sustainable management of this species.



vi.  The Establishment of Permanent Sample Plot Network in Sarawak

  • Funding: State government through Ministry of Urban Development and Natural Resources has granted the project under RMK11 in 2017 to Sarawak Forestry Corporation Sdn. Bhd. In 2019, the project was handed over to Forest Department Sarawak
  • Duration: 2017-2020 (proposed for continuation under RMK12)

Lacking of information on timber resources can directly impact the State’s government to achieving Forest Management Certification which is a key tool for Sustainable Forest Management standard. The information is necessary to make decision on rate of harvest (Criteria 5.6), to protect and balance the ecological function (Criteria 6.3), to comply with Criteria 8.2 on obtaining data for growth and yield and evaluating changes in flora composition. For this reason, the State government through Ministry of Urban Development and Natural Resources has granted the project under RMK11 in 2017 to Sarawak Forestry Corporation Sdn. Bhd. In 2019, the project was handed over to Forest Department Sarawak. As longer period of times and often more than 5 years is required to monitor tree growth and observe recovery process in tree composition after harvesting, Forest Department Sarawak has proposed for continuation project under the RMK12.

Collaborating with the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan, it is the Department desire to achieve the project main objectives which are to evaluate timber stocking from Permanent Forest Estate confined to Forest Management Unit Areas, to develop growth and volume model for projection of future Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) and to review the current harvesting cycle and cutting limit. The project will be implemented in various components such as establishment, assessment and monitoring of plots; mapping forest structure through LiDAR technology; data analysis and development of equation; capacity building and delivery of results. By integrating ground data from long term monitoring PSP plot and LiDAR technology, the scientific analysis, results and information will be more accurate and precise.

At the end of the project, a comprehensive tree growth database will be established and made available to support other management and conservation initiatives, a growth and volume projection model developed, harvesting cycle and cutting limit will be reviewed and which overall will strengthen the sustainable forest management strategies in the State.

Over the period of 3 years since the project started, totalling 25 plots of 1 ha each were established in 9 FMUs. More than 14,000 trees were enumerated and documented. Current database comprises of tree size and species composition data. Continuous monitoring enabling more data to be collected in the future.

 

vii. Research in Rare, Threatened and Endangered (RTE) for non-tree species

According to new University of Arizona-led research “Almost 40% of global land plant species are categorized as very rare, and these species are most at risk for extinction as the climate continues to change”. Non tree species are always over-looked by the authorities during certification processes as these plants have less commercial values when compared with timber species. Under the Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1998, all epiphytic Lycopodium species, Orchid species, Begonia species, Aeschynanthus species, Crytandra and Didymorcarpus species are categorized as Protected Plants. Under the Malaysian Criteria and Indicators (MC&I) for Natural Forest 2012, Wild Life Protection Ordinance (1998) is one of the verifier for Criterion 6.2 under Principle 6. Hence it is critical to do assessment on these plant groups in FMU areas by Collaboration between Forest Managers and FDS in research activities to identify the RTE species present in the FMU areas; to recommend conservation and management activities; and to creates awareness between forest workers and local communities regarding the RTE species. The study sites for this project focus in PSP plots established under the PSP Network Project and will be funded by the project as part of contribution towards Sustainable Forest Management.

Through this research, Forest Managers are able to know the existence of the RTE species in their area and to be included into their future harvesting planning in order to safeguards and protect the RTE species. The documentation and records of RTE species are also important data for researchers to do Global or Regional Red List Assessment for The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species

 

 

viii. Biodiversity Research and Conservation Management in Selected Habitats and Forest Landscape
  • Funding: Project RMK11 2016-2020 (P17/ 530509)
  • Duration: 2016-2020

Biodiversity studies of flora and fauna are important to gather the information that can be used for genetic conservation and species. The project is focus on biodiversity research and conservation of several types of forest; limestone forests, mixed-dipterocarp forests and peat swamp forest found in Sarawak.  The selected and identified forest areas and their habitats will be known to be protected and listed under permanent forest management (Sustainable Forest Management). Climate change is threats to the forest ecosystem as well as the human activities (eg. Over-collecting, logging and habitat destruction activities).  Therefore, conservation is crucial to ensure the preservation of flora and fauna. There are two (2) mini projects which are still on-going namely monitoring of wild orchid in selected limestone forest and the study of Rafflesia. The main objectives were to record the recent populations and the distributions of those species in conservation areas of the selected forests in Sarawak as well as to record their morphological characteristics for taxonomy studies. Hence, research is conducted in order for well understanding the population and characteristics of certain species for conservation purposes.

 

 

ix. Bamboo Tissue Culture
  • Duration: 2020-2030

Bamboo has been identified as a potential non-timber forest product to serve as  alternative raw materials to timber. It is generally known that Bamboo is one of the fatest growing plants in the world.  With a gestation period of three to five years, bamboo can be a sustainable resource for various industries including furniture manufacturing and construction.

 

As a member of Sarawak Bamboo Industry Development Technical Committee (SaBIDTech) under the State’s Sarawak Bamboo Framework (2020-2030), we have been embarking on bamboo tissue culture since 2019, working on micropropagation of Dendrocalamus asper. Besides D.asper, we proposed additional two species of interest to be included in our study, i.e. Dendrocalamus giganteus & Gigantochaloa atter under the 12th Malaysia Plan research project. 

 

Project scopes include hedge garden set up, workable micropropagation protocols establishment for the selected species and field planting trial study. Collaboration with renowned experts and/or universities will also be initiated to fast-track the R&D work.