1. Protection Unit
Ulu Segama-Malua (USM) is a huge area and almost half of its boundaries (mainly on the eastern parts) are bordering with private lands. However, USM is well protected in the west where it shares a common boundary with other forest reserves. Nevertheless, USM is very accessible with so many existing roads. Therefore, signboards and gates are to be built at strategic locations and manned as a deterrent against illegal logging and illegal hunting and also the prevention and control of forest fires during the drought season. Air surveillance will be carried out once a month.
A basic principle of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) is clear and permanent definition of forest boundaries – irrespective of land ownership and tenure – linked to permanent marking, surveying and mapping of boundaries. In the case of the USM SFM Project Area, the forests were re-constituted as Commercial FRs, Protection FRs and VJRs, which is a commitment by the State Government to defend the permanent forest estate based on secure, long term land tenure for forestry use. It is unfortunate, however, that a small portion of USM lost its natural forest due to forest encroachments and illegal felling, but large areas of USM still remain under natural forests nevertheless.
Protecting forests is an integral part of good management. Thus the forest management system in USM sets the standards and regulations, as well as, procedures for effective forest protection, particularly in the protection or conservation areas and enforcing systematic control, with good enforcement of laws and policy.
Permanent definition and subsequent surveying of boundaries is yet to be carried out in USM. The SFD in collaboration with YS will place greater emphasis on protection. There will be more staff to be stationed in strategic areas to monitor forest incursions on the ground and offenders are appropriately punished under the law.
One of the greatest challenges the USM management team faced, in managing the entire project area is to ensure the security of the resources against illegal felling especially at the riverine area, poaching, gaharu thieves, and encroachments for oil palm cultivation. Several dialogues were conducted with the kampong people, who are living adjacent to the project area. This is an attempt to make them aware of the importance of the USM-SFMP programs. A protection committee was also set up at the district to boost the effort of prevention measures.
The significant achievements of the protection unit included: destruction of illegal oil palm cultivation in Northern Ulu Segama Forest Reserve (12ha) and VJR Merisuli (320ha).
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2. Forest Encroachment by Local Communities
At present, there are no human settlements within USM except those along the Segama River, which are outside USM. Nevertheless, a proper schedule will be prepared to conduct regular dialogues with them. Meanwhile, employment opportunities for the local communities in forest operations particularly in forest restoration and silvicultural operations will be provided. By incorporating the local community into the forestry activities, the SFD and YS hope to secure the cooperation of the community in controlling encroachment into USM for cultivation, settlement and prevention of fire.
A Daily Patrol Record for forest encroachment will be prepared. Both the SFD and YS will continue to control all access points and patrol the area. The movements of the local communities will not be impeded in any way.
3. Soil Protection and Watershed
About 33% of USM has been set aside for conservation and protection and thus, these areas will be free from any adverse soil disturbance. Since there will be no logging activities during the planned period, it is anticipated that USM will be free from any soil disturbance for at least a decade.
4. Fire Protection
A Forest Fire Management Plan will be prepared separately for USM. The plan is expected to be comprehensive that will prescribe amongst others as follows:
- Fire Management Map with a scale 1: 50,000;
- Fire Prevention Strategies;
- Fire Preparedness Strategies;
- Fire Management Zones - access routes by vehicle, road and track network;
- Location of existing water points;
- Equipment resources statement and specifications for procurement of new equipment;
- Fire Management Organization; and
- Fire infrastructure.
Fire prevention and control systems will also be established in USM. Open burning on-site for wastes, garbage and biomass disposal will be prohibited.
Greater focus will be placed on adopting preventive measures to mitigate environmental effects at the source. Steps to foster cooperation and coordination between stakeholders in addressing the environmental concerns arising from forestry activities will be given emphasis. Environmental auditing will be increasingly applied in evaluating and mitigating the socio-economic and environmental impacts caused by the forestry activities. In addition, capacity development programs will be undertaken to generate more trained human resources in environmental and natural resource management in USM. Research and development activities will be intensified with the cooperation of the Forest Research Centre and other research institutes and NGOs to further support environmental management.