SANDAKAN: A tree-planting ceremony was carried out to celebrate the 60th Merdeka Day at Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve, Sandakan on Aug 29, 2017.
The event which was jointly launched by Fadzil Yahya, district forestry officer for Wilayah Sandakan, associate Prof Dr Mahmud Sudin, senior lecturer of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) and Wong Kee Mee, Sabah area operation manager of KTS Group of Companies was attended by 150 students and more than 30 offi cials.
The event was held to demonstrate the spirit of solidarity among young foresters to appreciate the peace and harmony enjoyed since independence.
The Merdeka Day celebration is also a prelude to the launching of the Universiti Malaysia Sabah 17th Forestry Camp at KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd in Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve FMU 19B.
This forestry camp is carried out for the second time in KTS Plantation after a similar event in 2016.
The event was one of the many initiatives taken under the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in November 2016, and the first to be organised in the east coast of Sabah by UMS in collaboration with a private company’s forest management unit (FMU) under the principles of sustainable forest management.
It is also unique from previous forestry camps with the development of a new tailor-made module called the mentoring programme, which was introduced as a sharing session of live experience and knowledge on sustainable forest management implementation at the FMU level by experienced mentors among KTS and Sabah Forestry Department personnel and UMS lecturers.
As the first private company in Malaysia in the forest industry certifi ed by both MC & I (Natural Forest) for Forest Management and MS ISO 14001 for Environmental Management System, KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd is optimistic of providing an ideal site for the forestry camp as a case study for university students to understand the challenges of the forestry industry in Sabah.
In his welcoming address, Wong Kee Mee said he believed the arrangement is probably one of the best strategies to tap into the potential of industryuniversity research collaboration as KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd continues to implement and improve its forest management practice based on the principle of sustainable forest management.
He said the combined strength of the three parties; scientific knowledge from UMS principle of SFM from SFD; and operational experience from KTS would be the best recipe for a successful SFM.
“It is foreseeable that the forestry industry is moving into a very challenging phase of development which requires a new breed of able foresters to rise above those challenges.
The industry needs knowledgeable and competent foresters to bring science into practice,” he added.
District forestry offi cer Fadzil Yahya, who has overseen the management of Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve over the past seven years commended the wise choice of UMS in carrying out their forestry camp in the reserve due to its good forestry practice endorsed by several certification standards such as MC & I (Natural Forest) and MS ISO 14001.
He added: “The forest management approach practised by KTSP is a good role model for sustainable forest management as advocated by Sabah Forestry Department.
I hope all the students will be actively involved in all the field activities, especially those on forest operations, such as harvesting, forest rehabilitation, forest resource assessment and wildlife management.
The forestry camp is compulsory for third year students majoring in forestry courses, namely International Tropical Forestry, Forest Plantation and Agroforestry, Nature Parks and Recreation and Wood Technology and Industry.
This camp conducted over 12 days emphasised theory and practice in forestry fields.
Among the topics covered are forest survival, motivation, survey on forest resources and non-timber forest, forest soils, forest community, wildlife management, forest inventory, dendrology, forest management and silviculture.
In addition, communication skills and leadership among the students will be imparted through presentations and group assignments during the camp.
The activities developed involve ‘direct’ physical and mental endurance in the forest that are necessary to be a forester.
The expectations are, upon completion of the module, for students to be able to apply basic forestry knowledge and skills in practice, analysing theories, applying forester’s values and enhancing communication and leadership skills.
In his speech, Associate Prof Dr Mahmud Sudin hailed the initiative of the three parties as a major step forward for UMS in enhancing learning through a ‘live’ forest laboratory, where students can learn in real life the forest and concept of sustainable forest management.
He added: “I agree that the forestry learning outcome is also one of the main products of the SFM concept which has been adopted by the state government through Sabah Forestry Department and FMU holders throughout the state.
In such a way, this concept can be extended to the next generation to carry on the noble efforts towards preservation and management of forests.
” He also recorded his appreciation to Sabah Forestry Department and KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd for facilitating and accommodating the forestry camp at Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve and hoped that this collaboration will continue in the future, especially cooperation in sharing and delivery of knowledge to students of UMS, Sabah Forestry Department and KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd.