Sustainable Forest Management


Sustainable Forest Management

‘Sustainable forest management is the process of managing forests to achieve one or more clearly specified objectives of management with regard to the production of a continuous flow of desired forest products and services, without undue reduction of its inherent values and future productivity and without undue undesirable effects on the physical and social environment.’

(ITTO, Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Management of Natural Tropical Forests, 1998)

Sarawak has embraced SFM as early as 1990s.  The ITTO Mission to Sarawak in 1989/1990 to assess sustainable forest management in the State had stated that forest management in Sarawak was of a higher standard than in most other tropical timber producing countries. As a follow-up to the recommendation by the Mission, the Model Forest Management Area (MFMA) Project was implemented in 1993 and Phase II was completed at the end of 2000. A Malaysian-Germany Technical Co-operation Project entitled "Promotion of sustainable forest management in Sarawak" was also set up in January 1995. A pilot study area in the Upper Baram has been established to demonstrate the sustainable forest management system proposed by this Project.

Since then, in its endeavour to enhance SFM, July 2014, the State had announced the Forest Management Certification(FMC) Policy that all long-term Forest Timber License (FTL) areas within the Heart of Borneo are to be certified by 2017. In November 2017, this requirement has been extended to all long-term FTL in Sarawak.  The FMC is no longer voluntarily, all long-term FTL holders are to obtain their FMC by 2022.

To enable the successful implementation of SFM and FMC, the key document which is Forest Management Plan is diligently examined by Technical Committee to ensure  that FTL holder follow the requirements of SFM practices.   To support SFM implementation on the ground particularly on forest harvesting operation, Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) guidelines has been standardised and evaluated to suit local condition.

Respective multi-stakeholders frameworks have also been established to address issues related to management, technical, social issues related to local communities directly and or indirectly affected by forest operations.

The timber industry also recognises the importance of SFM and has taken steps to upgrade the logging skills of its workers. The Forest Department and Sarawak Timber Association (STA) have conducted training courses for tree fellers since 1996.These training courses cover directional tree felling, chainsaw maintenance and associated safe working practices. Courses for other categories of forest workers are also planned. The program for capacity building and awareness on SFM and FMC for relevant agencies, timber industries and local communities has been developed and implemented as an on-going activities.

1.1       Forest Management Plan (FMP)

Forest Management Plan is a legal document to be used by Forest Timber Licensee as a guide to manage the licensed area/forest management unit (FMU). The FMP is to be prepared by the FTL holder encompasses of strategic or long-term management plan for a period of 10 years plan and subjected to mid-term review after 5 years of implementation. The document is evaluated by the FMC Technical Committee before it is  recommended for approval. Every FMU Holders must have the approved FMP before they could go for the FMC process. 

Critical activities such as Forest Resource Assessment(FRA), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Social Impact Assessment and Identification of High Conservation Value Areas shall be carried out by the FMU holders before the formulation of the FMP document.


1.2       Reduced Impact Logging

Reduced impact logging (RIL) is the intensively planned and carefully controlled implementation of timber harvesting operations to minimize environmental impacts on forest stands and soils.

Sarawak has its RIL guidelines formulated suitable to its local condition. This guidelines is to be implemented by every FMU holders in Sarawak.


1.3       Multi-stakeholders Consultation Framework

Multi-stakeholders consultation framework was initiated to enhance and smoothen the SFM practices in Sarawak. The framework was established to address issues related to management, technical and social related to local communities living within and adjacent to the FMU. Various committees have been set up as follows:


Forest Management Certification Steering Committee was set up to address issues related to policy, laws®ulation and management issues at the Ministry level. Chaired by Permanent Secretary of Ministry for Urban Development and Natural Resources. Members of the committee are representatives from various agencies under the jurisdiction of the Ministry (Forest Department Sarawak (FDS), Sarawak forestry Corporation (SFC), Sarawak Timber Development Corporation (STIDC), Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB), Land and Survey (L&S) and Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC).


Forest Management Technical Committee was set up to address issues related to technical issues on the ground with regards to the implementation of SFM and FMC. One of the main task of this committee is to evaluate Forest Management Plan and provide a recommendation for approval. The committee members are expert in various field from relevant agencies related toforestry sector (FDS, SFC, NREB, STIDC). The Chairman for this committee is the Director of Forests.


The most challenging component of SFM and FMC successful implementation are social issues. For that reason, the guidelines and mechanism for conflict resolution was developed to assist and support the FMU holders in addressing social issues particularly related to local communities.

Under the Conflict Resolution Guidelines different levels of committees are set up as follows for each FMUs in Sarawak:

Forest Management Certification Liaison Committee (FMCLC) involves Multi-stakeholder members comprising of relevant agencies under respective divisions where the FMU is situated,  FMU holder representatives (FMURC), Community Representatives Committee (CRC). The Committee Chairman is the Regional Forest Officer for each Division. The main task of this Committee is to facilitate and addressing most immediate issues on the ground related to forest operation that affects the local community livelihood.

Forest Management Unit Representative Committee (FMURC) is to be set up by each FMU holders comprising of key people who are dealing with local communities such as the Camp Manager, Forest Manager and FMU Community Liaison Officer.

Community Representatives Committee (CRC) is a committee to be set up for each FMU comprising of Local Communities within and adjacent to the FMUs either directly or indirectly affected by the forest operation. The chairman and members of the committee are determined by the communities themselves.


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Last Updated On 07 May 2024

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