Sela’an Linau FMU first to be MTCC-certified in Sarawak

The Sela’an Linau Forest Management Unit (FMU) has become the first FMU in Sarawak, and the ninth in Malaysia, to be certified under the MTCC timber certification scheme. It is also the first FMU which is managed by a private company. The certification of the Sela’an Linau FMU therefore represents another important milestone for the MTCC certification scheme.

The MTCC Certificate for Forest Management was awarded to Samling Plywood (Baramas) Sdn. Bhd., the company that manages the Sela’an Linau FMU, at a presentation ceremony
that was officiated by the Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Y.B. Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui, on 4 January 2005 in Miri. The company was also presented with the Certificate for Chain-of-Custody during the same ceremony.

With the issuance of the MTCC certificate to the Sela’an Linau FMU, the Samling group is now in a position to supply MTCC-certified products through Samling Plywood (Baramas) Sdn. Bhd. and Samling DorFoHom Sdn. Bhd. which have been awarded the MTCC Certificate for Chain-of-Custody for plywood and moulded door skins respectively.

The Sela’an Linau FMU is located in the Upper Ulu Baram region, and covers an area of 55,949 hectares, comprising about 72% Mixed Hill Dipterocarp Forest, with the remaining area consisting of Kerangas Forest and Montane Forest. It first underwent a pre-assessment in September 2003 to determine whether it was ready for the main assessment against the standard currently used under the MTCC scheme, i.e. the Malaysian Criteria, Indicators, 2 Activities and Standards of Performance for Forest Management Certification [MC&I(2001)].

The main assessment of the Sela’an Linau FMU was conducted in March 2004 by an independent assessor registered with MTCC, SIRIM QAS International Sdn. Bhd. The assessment resulted in the issuance of two major Corrective Action Requests (CARs), which referred to infringement of the buffer belt along permanent waterway and non-compliance to specifications in the construction of skid trails. The assessment to verify the corrective action taken to address the major CARs was carried out in August 2004, and based on the assessor’s recommendations, the decision to award the Certificate was made in October 2004.

MTCC started operating its certification scheme in October 2001. Besides the Sela’an Linau FMU, eight FMUs in Peninsular Malaysia, i.e. Pahang, Selangor, Terengganu, Johor, Kedah, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Kelantan, covering a total of 4.67 million hectares of Permanent Reserved Forests (PRFs) have been certified under the MTCC scheme. A total of 55 timber companies have been awarded the Certificate for Chain-of-Custody.

The Certificate for Forest Management provides the assurance that the FMU has complied with the requirements of the MC&I(2001) and that the timber is harvested legally, while the Certificate for Chain-of-Custody provides the assurance to buyers of MTCC-certified timber products that the raw material used in the products originate from MTCC-certified FMUs.

MTCC-certified timber has been exported since July 2002. By the end of November 2004, a total of 31,852 m3 of MTCC-certified timber has been exported to The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Australia.

The Danish Ministry of the Environment has given recognition to the MTCC scheme by
including it as one of the accepted certification schemes in its document entitled Purchasing Tropical Timber – Environmental Guidelines, describing the MTCC certificate as providing a good guarantee of legal forest management, on its way towards becoming sustainable. The report commissioned by the United Kingdom’s Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET) has also concluded that the certificate issued by MTCC provides the assurance of legally harvested timber.