Borneo logging road puts rainforest, indigenous communities at risk
October 22, 2008
A 186-mile (300-km) logging road to the top of the Bario highlands in northern Sarawak puts the state’s increasingly rare natural forest at risk, warns the Borneo Resources Institute, a grassroots environmental group.
As reported by the Malaysian Star, the road was constructed by Samling Corporation, a timber company, to open up the interior to industrial logging.
“From what I know, the road was constructed by a timber company, not by the Government,” Raymond Abin, Sarawak coordinator for the Borneo Resources Institute, told the Star. “Does this mean that the timber firm has been given the right to harvest the timber in the forests where the logging road runs through?
“Our institute is worried that the construction of this logging road is merely a front for the opening of the whole Bario highlands for timber extraction,” he continued. “The Bario highlands is a very ecologically-important region. The ecosystem and the weather system there is very fragile.”
Vast swathes of the biologically-rich Bornean rainforest that once blanketed Sarawak have be heavily logged since the 1980s. What forest remains is increasingly being replaced with industrial oil palm plantations.
The Bario highlands are populated by the Bawangs and Kelabits minority ethnic groups.
STEPHEN THEN. Concern over logging road into Bario highland. Malaysian Star. Wednesday October 22, 2008