Sabah allows villagers in borders of protected areas: UMS VC
A management mechanism and forest conservation to •‘truly’ conserve the forest is needed by the State as the forests here are much wider than the conserved forests in Peninsular Malaysia. Director of Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ITBC) at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Associate Professor Dr Abdul Hamid, said that the management mechanism and forest conservation in the State have taken into account the people who live in the area. “Sabah has set another milestone by introducing Community-Use Zones within the conserved forest area and even though we need a mechanism to conserve the forest, there is exemption for the existing villagers within or near the border o the conserved forest. “We give them a priority where they can live in the area without any interruption and currently the development for this zone is handled by Sabah Parks and other agencies,” he said. Hamid was speaking to reporters after delivering a speech by UMS Vice Chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Kamaruzaman Hj Ampon during the opening of the Regional Workshop for the Development of Course Programmes and Training for Protected Area Staff at the University here yesterday. The four-day workshop jointly organised by ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), Philippines aims to prepare a guide module for the staff in the conserved areas. In his speech, Kamaruzaman said that UMS has been engaged in conservation activities and in various efforts that have been developed to see that the conservation and protection of biodiversity and natural habitats take place. He added that many projects have been completed successfully, including those involving the Danish Collaboration for Environmental Development (DANCED) and GTZ (German Technical Association). Kamaruzaman also said that Japan- based organisations such as KOSINAR, ProNatura, NAGAO Natural Environment Foundation and JICA have also played their parts in conservation efforts at ITBC. Meanwhile, ACB Executive Director Rodrigo U Fuentes said that he is impressed with the initiative by the SabahGovernment to gazette the conserved forest and community conservation which can reduce the extinction ofbiodiversity, especially the threatened species. About 30 participants from various institutions and countries namely Australia, Indonesia3 Philippines, Singapore,Thailand, United Kingdom, as well as Malaysia participated in the workshop. Also present were Capacity Development Specialist forACB, Dr Monina T Uriarte and Sabah Parks Assistant Director Dr Jamili Nais.