Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Sabah's forest can capture even more carbon: Steps must be taken to ensure no more logging,and more areas are designated for maximum protection

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Locations of the top 5% and top quartile of aboveground carbon densities (ACD) for natural forests of Sabah, Malaysia, not including mangroves. Thin black lines indicate the location of Sabah Forest “Class I” and “Parks” designated reserves, which are the most protected in the State. Lettering highlights areas of high carbon stock forest including (a) Crocker Range, (b) Mount Kinabalu area, (c) Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon, (d) Danum Valley, (e) Tawau Hills area, (f) Tabin area, (g) Sepilok, and (h) southwestern Sabah near to the Sarawak, Malaysia and Kalimantan, Indonesian borders.

Anser et al published in 2017 research based on remote sensing data including Landsat 8 imagery. Their findings (summarized)are:

.........that unlogged, intact forests contain aboveground carbon densities averaging over 200 Mg C ha−1, with peaks of 500 Mg C ha−1. Critically, more than 40% of the highest carbon stock forests were discovered outside of areas designated for maximum protection...Our mapped distributions of forest carbon stock suggest that the state of Sabah could double its total aboveground carbon storage if previously logged forests are allowed to recover in the future.

Two new governments were installed in the State Of Sabah within a time span of 48 hours in May 2018. The changes were, as is usual in that state, accompanied by much party hopping, horse trading and all those other things that politician excel at.

Unfortunately the horse trading often includes timber  logging concessions which is likely to mean little if any  prospect for conservation or recovery. 

It is for the people of Sabah, the NGOs, and the Opposition to ensure that the new government is constrained enough so that at very least what remains is preserved. 


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