Samling Response to NGOs – Finalised

Samling regrets the recent reports by certain NGOs concerning SFM and forest certification in the Sela’an-Linau forest management unit.

We offer the following facts as clarifications:

–         A 2001 satellite imagery was used to show more intensely logged areas and to falsely relate this to the certified FMU.

We would like to clarify that the area shown as ‘unsustainable’ is NOT encompassing any part of the certified FMU. The satellite imagery provided by the NGOs was dated 2001 which was well before the forest certification which was completed in 2004.  We attach herewith two satellite images dated 2001 and 2003 respectively showing the delineated boundaries of the certified Sela’an-Linau FMU.  The two images also show distinctly the differences between forests which are managed under SFM and those which are not.

–         The responsibility for regulations and verifications of land claims rest within the jurisdiction of the state government authorities and not with Samling. The self-proclaimed land claim by the Penan did not consider and respect that there are other communities of different ethnic groups like the Kelabit and Kenyah living within the forest area.

–         Forest management in Sarawak respects and comply with all applicable laws of Sarawak and Malaysia.

Samling had zoned out all known shifting agriculture areas from its operations and we fully respect all properly authorized land claims. We hold periodical liaison committee meetings where representatives of community and government agencies are present to address issues including land matters which are of interest to the various parties.

Inhabitants of the various communities are not prevented to access any part of the forest in the FMU for their gathering of non-timber produce such as sago, rattan, and wild fruits and hunting of wild animals. Under our SFM practices, we incorporated protection measures for fruit trees and plants for the benefit of the communities. Biodiversity conservation is under research in our cooperation agreement with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) of New York. Any wildlife hunting is restricted to the forest dwelling communities. We also attach some digital pictures of animals that were captured through camera trappings conducted by WCS.

–         It must be mentioned that majority of the communities who actively participate in our socio-economic development programs including the Penan ethnic group support our SFM practices. They recognize that SFM actually minimize adverse impacts on the forest thus preserving their livelihoods. Amongst the implementation of numerous community development projects, we are pleased to announce that a coffee project was launched by the Telang Usan Assemblyman, Mr. Lihan Jok in July 2005 as one of the economic alternatives for agro-based development by the indigenous communities living in and around the certified FMU.  This initiative is a joint effort by the Agriculture Department, Sarawak Forestry, Samling and Sarawak Timber Association to help the various indigenous communities in Ulu Baram.

We strongly feel that NGOs should act responsibly and to contribute positively to assist and encourage SFM practices in Sarawak. Only when SFM is more widely practiced by the timber industry then better improvements all around including more sustained development projects can be introduced and implemented. Disruptive measures by some NGOs add to confusion and deprive some ethnic groups the opportunity to progress.

Attached Files

à    Satellite Imagery 2001 showing the designated Sela’an-Linau FMU which      was certified.

à    Satellite Imagery showing the same area on 27 January 2003.

à    Photo showing potential crop trees and fruit trees being tagged for protection during pre-harvesting.

à    Photo showing camera trapping in research for biodiversity conservation. Presence of animals are evident even in harvested areas.