MALACCA: Malaysia is still able to maintain 56.4 percent of its total land area as forested land, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said on Monday.
He described it as an encouraging achievement because many countries were not able to do so as their forest areas had been opened for development.
This success is very significant because Malaysia is still a developing country where development and forest land-use change for other purposes still happens, he said in his speech at the opening of the 16th Malaysian Forestry Conference here.
The text of the speech was read by Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Tan Sri Joseph Kurup.
Uggah said the most important challenge in today's forest management was to balance the competition and various land use for forestry activities.
He said that the forest was not just a producer of a product, but also to produce clean air and water, as well as to absorb carbon dioxide and the greenhouse effect.
Meanwhile, Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, in his speech when opening the conference, said Malacca had gazetted 5,327 hectares of forested land or 3.2 percent of the state's total land area as permanent forest reserves.
"This effort is made on the commitment by the state government to maintain a permanent forest area to provide a clean environment and for the preservation of the biodiversity for the people's well-being" he said.
The speech was read by the State Rural Development and Agriculture Committee Chairman Datuk R. Perumal.
He said the state government would continue with its tree planting effort, adding that a total of 17,250 trees had been planted since 2005. - Bernama