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15 July, 2010

Rape of Lenggong forest reserve in Perak


GERIK: The Forestry Department is alarmed over the rape of a forest reserve in Lenggong where trees have been illegally felled for their quality timber worth about half a million ringgit.

The activity, deep in the Bintang Hijau Forest Reserve, is believed to have gone on for the past six months.

A National Forestry Department spokesman said it found eight illegally logged spots during a joint operation with the state Forestry Department and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on Thursday.

“We found numerous logs sawn from cengal, meranti, merbau and balau trees,” said the forestry officer.

He added that cengal was worth about RM8,000 per tonne, while the merbau and meranti could fetch up to RM4,000 per tonne.

The investigation team also noticed that illegal loggers had started to process timber in the area where the trees were felled.

“It is faster to make wood planks straight away after felling the trees. This also makes for easier transportation of the wood out from the forest using a small truck,” he added.

The officer noted that sawn timber was sometimes left in the forest to be transported out at other times.

On the operation, he said the investigation team did not catch any suspects but seized a bulldozer, a truck, sawn timber and other equipment abandoned in the forest.

“We also found a demolished hut. They must have got wind of our arrival and fled the place,” said the officer.

He also pointed out that the department had received tip-offs about the illegal operations inside the forest earlier this year and had been conducting investigations at the sites.

He said three individuals were believed to be behind the illegal activity.

Those found guilty of illegal logging can be fined a maximum RM500,000, and jailed up to 20 years under Section 15 of the National Forestry Act 1984.

Source: The Star




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