Sabah Forestry Department

We Aim To Be The Best

We aim to be the best 

Towards the realization of sustainable forest management 

To effectively and efficiently plan and implement the management of the State's forest resources in accordance with the 
principles of sustainable forest management 


Sabah is committed to ensure that at least 50% of Sabah's land mass is designated and protected for sustainable forest use and
tree cover for environmental protection, biodiversity conservation, and socio-economic well-being


  1. To ensure that the management and development of Sabah's forest reserves are in accordance with the principles of Sustainable
    Forest Management;
  2. To optimise the utilisation of forest resources in order to sustain socio-economic benefits to the State;
  3. To ensure that the development of forest industry corresponds with the long term productive capacity of the state's resources; 
  4. To ensure sufficient trained manpower and expertise to implement Sustainable Forest Management efficiently and professionally; 
  5. To intensify the R&D programmes and efforts toward the development and implementation of Sustainable Forest Management; 
  6. To conserve sufficient natural forest areas for the protection and maintenance of the environment, water resources, soils and biodiversity. 
  7. To promote the rehabilitation of natural forests and the establishment of forest plantations.
  8. To enhance enforcement strategies to safeguard the forest resources. 
  9. To increase public awareness on the importance of forests and Sustainable Forest Management. 
  10. To ensure that sufficient financial resources, technology, and logistical supports are available for the implementation of Sustainable
    Forest Management. 


In line with the vision and objectives of the Sabah Forestry Department, numerous strategies have been identified to address current 
forestry issues, especially those relating to the ITTO Year 2000 Objective. These strategic lines of action are as follows:

1. The Permanent Forest Estate

• Declare sufficient areas to be included in the Permanent Forest Estate (PFE);
• Ensure that no part of the PFE is degazetted except under extreme circumstances, in which case the excised area should be replaced; and
• Identify State land areas which are suitable for inclusion into the PFE.

2. Sustainable Forest Management

• Ensure that forestry planning follows the 3-tiered approach as shown in the table below:

Management LevelPlanning PeriodMain Components

Forestry Sector
10 - 20 yearsForest Management
1. Forestry Sector Plan
2. Forest Policy
3. Legislation

Forest Management5 - 10 years4. Forest Zoning
5. Resource Inventory
6. Output Control

Compartmentsannualy7. Harvesting & Silviculture
8. Non-timber forest product
9. Resource Accounting

Place the PFE under Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) in line with ITTO’s Year 2000 Objective, so that the socioeconomic and environmental benefits from the forests are maintained in perpetuity;

•      Extend the Deramakot forest management planning model to all the other Commercial Forest Reserves in Sabah;
•      Implement SFM in all forest management units, each of which should comprise at least 100,000 ha of commercial forest
•      Ensure that the management plans for all FMUs are completed with the appropriate prescriptions for field implementation.

3. Licensing

•    Permanent Forest Estate In implementing SFM, the Government issues long-term licence agreements in accordance with Section 15(1) of the Forest Enactment 1968. This agreement will require the licencee to manage the FMU for a period of 100 years according to the following conditions:

      - The FMU is managed according to the conditions of the licence agreement;
The licencee submits a performance bond of RM 5 million;
A management plan is prepared and approved;
A requirement of at least 30% Sabah Bumiputra participation in the company;
Employ environmentally friendly harvesting methods such as Reduced-Impact Logging (RIL) and skyline yarding;
Carry out silviculture and enrichment planting as required;
Employ professional foresters with experience; and
The licencee shall bear all costs of forest management planning and implementation.

4. Forest Production & Revenue

•        Promote efficient production through systematic management planning, and resource development so as to reduce damage to the forest 
•        Ensure the optimal use of forest resources by encouraging proper and systematic harvesting and log production;
•        Ensure that forest revenue corresponds to the production capacity of the forest resources so as to contribute towards sustainable socioeconomic
          development; and
•        Ensure the systematic and efficient collection of royalty and other charges on forest produce.

5. Enforcement and Legislation Ensure that the Forest Enactment 1968 and the Forest Rules 1969 are constantly updated and fully enforced to support the successful implementation of Sustainable Forest Management through the following :-

•        Set up a committee headed by the State Attorney General to review the forestry legislation every 6 months
•        Propose to the Ministerial Committee on Forest Policy any necessary amendments to the legislation;
•        Establish and strengthen enforcement teams in all forestry districts;
•        Intensify special operations against illegal forestry activities with assistance from the Police and Army;
•        Take disciplinary action against Forestry Department personnel who are found to be involved in forestry offences; and
•        Seek assistance from the Federal Government to address problems related to the involvement of foreign workers involved in forestry offences so that a diplomatic solution can be achieved


6. Protection Take a proactive approach in the protection of the State’s Permanent Forest Estate, such as to:-

•         Demarcate forest reserve boundaries on the ground;
•         Take urgent steps to upgrade the capability of the Department in forest fire prevention and control, with emphasis on preventive measures;
•         Curb illegal shifting cultivation activities in forest reserves and relocate those involved parties to areas designated for community forestry
           programme; and
•         Promote the voluntary practice of forest protection and conservation by private land owners


7. Forest Resource Development

•         Encourage licencees to conduct forest rehabilitation in logged areas as required under the SFM licence agreement;
•         Intensify rehabilitation measures in forest reserves of low productivity through enrichment planting and appropriate silvicultural treatments. On
           poor and degraded forest areas, plantation forestry should be introduced.
•         Promote forest plantation development through the active participation of the private sector; and
•         Provide appropriate incentives in order to create a conducive investment environment to encourage developers to venture into plantation


8. Wood Industry Development Due to the declining timber resource, the wood industry cannot rely on a sustainable supply of timber at previous high levels from the State’s forests. The development of the industry should instead focus on adaptive measures such as to:

•         Adjust the industry’s capacity according to the available timber resources;
•         Increase processing efficiency in order to reduce wastage;
•         Restructure the industry with emphasis on integrated wood processing towards the production of value-added items of export quality;
•         Increase the competitive ability of the industry in terms of cost and resource utilization; and
•         Raise environmental awareness among mill operators by introducing ‘green certificates’ in the issuance and renewal of mill licencees.


9. Trade and Marketing Despite the declining forest resource, the Department will strive to increase revenue, by focusing on the following:

•         Allow the export of logs in order to increase Government revenue and improve the local market price for timber;
•         Ensure that the administration of the export of logs and other forest produce remain under the jurisdiction of the State Government;
•         Encourage log imports in order to fulfil the requirements of the local wood industry;
•         Devise marketing information systems to coordinate wood supplies and request of the State in order to reflect its current price in the market.

10. The Role of Relevant Government Agencies. The Forestry Department has to foster close cooperation with relevant local and National government agencies in order that all the State’s forest development plans can be carried out effectively, most importantly in the following aspects:

•         Environmental Conservation;
•         Integrated Land Development;
•         Forest Rehabilitation Programme;
•         Wildlife Management and Conservation;
•         Research and Conservation of Biodiversity; and • Law Enforcement


11. Private Sector Participation

•         Promote the participation of the private sector in the implementation of Sustainable Forest Management by providing appropriate incentives;
•         Assist and guide the private sector, especially the Sustainable Forest Management Licence Agreement holders so that they may play a more  
           important role in the development of the forestry sector; and
•         Assist the private sector in preparing themselves for the implementation of Sustainable Forest Management.


12. Participation of Bumiputra Entrepreneurs

•         Promote the participation of Bumiputra entrepreneurs in the wood industry, in line with government policy;
•         Assist Bumiputra entrepreneurs on matters related to the management of the wood industry; and
•         Ensure the success of Bumiputra entrepreneurs in the wood industry by providing the appropriate incentives or mechanisms. These include advising less able entrepreneurs to form a consortium.


13. Manpower and Training Development

•         Enhance the level of forestry training for forestry workers in both the private and government sectors;
•         Upgrade the Forestry Training Institute as a centre of excellence for forestry training;
•         Ensure that the private sector’s workforce is fully trained in the implementation of Sustainable Forest Management;
•         Facilitate and expedite the training process for the private and government sectors by developing “Core Trainees”, who will become the principal forestry trainers;
•         Prepare a document or training programme for the implementation and monitoring by the private and Government Sectors; and
•         Identify training needs and prepare, as well as update training programme by periodic consultations with the private sector.


14. Non-Government Organization (NGOs)

•         Enhance the credibility of the Department’s programme and activities through the participation of NGOs;
•         Encourage the participation of NGOs in the implementation of Sustainable Forest Management through consultancies and committees;
•         Organise forums to discuss and resolve current issues.


15. International Forestry Cooperation

•         Continue efforts towards Sustainable Forest Management by seeking technical advice and guidance from the relevant international agencies;
•         Identify future cooperation, in line with the Department’s goals and objectives; and
•         Seek financial assistance from foreign sources for forestry research and development.


16. Community Forestry

•         Review programme of community forestry projects to ensure that they are in line with traditional community forestry concepts;
•         Identify village communities living within the forest reserves, through socioeconomic studies, to ensure that local community needs are addressed in the preparation of forest management plans;
•         Ensure that allocations from the Community Forestry Development Fund are used for the implementation of activities recommended in forest management plans; and
•         Foster close co-operation with other government agencies in relation to provide basic amenities for village communities.


17. Forestry Research and Development

•         Review existing research programme so as to ensure that they contribute towards the implementation of Sustainable Forest Management;
•         Enhance research related activities to the conservation of the environment, biodiversity and non-wood forest resources; and
•         Encourage the participation of the private sector in forestry research.


18. Eco-tourism

•         Identify potential areas for outdoor recreation and nature tourism;
•         Provide recreational amenities and ecotourism facilities throughout the State;
•         Formulate appropriate policies to support ecotourism development in forest reserves; and
•         Ensure that eco-tourism development in forest reserves is in line with the principles of sustainable forest use.


19. Administration

The role of the Forestry Department as the custodian of Sabah’s forest resources and as a revenue generator should be maintained. Inview of this, the administration of the Department should be strengthen and modernised to keep abreast with current development by the following means;

•         Forestry Department

-          Reduce “red tape” and bureaucracy in its administration;
-          Form a special task force to overcome the problem of bureaucracy and “red tape”;
-          Capacity building of the Forest Department;
-          Improve information technology facilities in administration and forest management, most importantly by establishing computer networking between all forestry offices in Sabah;
-          Ensure adequate funds are allocated for forest management; and
-          Restructure the Forestry Department and introduce “corporate concepts” in administration and management.

•         Ministerial Committee on Forest Policy

-          Support the implementation of the State’s forestry policies and strategies.