Posted on 21 March 2019
Sabah Softwoods Berhad and WWF-Malaysia have had a long-standing working relationship from 1981 when WWF Malaysia carried out early assessments of wildlife in Sabah Softwoods Berhad areas planted with fast-growing trees.
WWF-Malaysia and Sabah Softwoods Berhad signed a grant agreement for the co-financing of the restoration work through the wildlife corridor in Brumas, Tawau. The wildlife corridor provides an area of habitat to connect elephants and other wildlife in Ulu Kalumpang Forest Reserve to the larger Mount Louisa Forest Reserve.
Sabah Softwoods Berhad and WWF-Malaysia have had a long-standing working relationship from 1981 when WWF Malaysia carried out early assessments of wildlife in Sabah Softwoods Berhad areas planted with fast-growing trees. Since 2012, the two organisations have been working together to manage human-elephant co-existence, both to reduce crop damage from elephants and to reduce the risk of elephant and human deaths in agricultural landscapes. This has involved tracking elephant herds in the region using satellite-collars,and developing a wildlife corridor to manage elephant movements.
The contract formalises this on-going work, and puts in place co-funding for enrichment planting of native species and wild fruit trees of the wildlife corridor that links Ulu Kalumpang Forest Reserve and Mount Louisa Forest Reserve. It brings together WWF-Malaysia and Sabah Softwoods Berhad, with financial support from Unilever for WWF-Malaysia’s Living Landscapes Programme in Sabah in its efforts to provide physical connections between larger areas of habitat that allows for migration, colonisation and interbreeding of plants and wildlife.
“I am delighted to formalise our long-standing work with Sabah Softwoods Berhad and build stronger links with this responsible company for sustainable crop production and Living Landscapes in Sabah,” said Dr Henry Chan, Conservation Director of WWF-Malaysia.
This five-year contract between Sabah Softwoods Berhad and WWF-Malaysia is limited to the plantation’s current production areas, and the sum of RM1.25 million (USD 300,000) is agreed as co-funding for tree planting activities in the wildlife corridor area in the Brumas Estate. Additional activities, funded separately to this contract, will involve wildlife monitoring to assess the effectiveness of the ecological connectivity between the forest reserves. Other opportunities will be sought to continue to build the capacity of Sabah Softwoods Berhad’s staff in sustainable production and conservation matters and provide materials to support the Sabah Softwood Berhad’s Brumas Conservation Ecotourism programme.
In 2018, Unilever announced a partnership with WWF in Sabah, focusing on certification, restoration and protection in the area. The signing of the Sabah Softwoods Berhad and WWF- Malaysia grant agreement is an element of this work.
“We welcome this opportunity for WWF and Sabah Softwoods Berhad to work together in the Tawau district for a living landscape which combines protection of wildlife, production of crops, and restoration of habitat, elevating our produce and protect strategy. This is a positive step towards stopping deforestation and protecting these vital forests,” said Petronella Meekers, Head of Sustainable Sourcing at Unilever.
In the context of supporting sustainable development in Sabah, Sabah Softwoods Berhad has committed to responsible and sustainable production of tree crops through the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) international standard certification since 2007 and has been certified by the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) since 2016. Furthermore, the Malaysian government has recently required that all oil palm plantations to be MSPO certified by the end of 2019, the MSPO standards in the Sabah Softwoods Berhad production areas can contribute towards achieving internationally recognised RSPO certification. The Sabah State government has announced a policy to achieve State-wide RSPO certification by 2025, and both WWF Malaysia and Unilever are committed to working with plantation companies to support this policy goal.
Mohd Hattah Haji Ja’afar, CEO of Sabah Softwoods Berhad conveyed, “We appreciate the co-funding that WWF-Malaysia has brought to support our management of human and wildlife interactions. This collaboration will help us realise our business objectives to support wildlife conservation and economic development.”
For more information, please contact:
Mary Anne K. Baltazar
Tel: +6088-262420 Ext. 117