Forests & Wildlife

FORESTS

Forests

Malaysia is blessed with some of the oldest tropical rainforests in the world with a very high level of biodiversity. Equally important, our forested areas are also part of the customary territories of around 3 million indigenous peoples from various ethnicities.

Official federal statistics in 2013 reported that Malaysia’s forested areas stood at around 17.1 million hectares or slightly more than half of the land area of the country. Of these, 3.9 million hectares have been gazetted for conservation purposes and another 10.6 million hectares have been gazetted as production forests.

Altogether, according to the federal statistics, some 14.5 million hectares of forests have been gazetted for their ‘permanent’ protection. Therefore despite the claim of possessing some 17.1 million hectares of forested areas only 3.9 million hectares of these have been reserved for conservation. The remaining forested areas are still legally open to logging and even plantation operations.  Further, non-gazetted forests not only can be logged but they can be converted to other land uses as well.

Our work reflects the position that justice, transparency and accountability are crucial elements in the sustainable management of our forests. We also work to ensure that the various weaknesses found within state, national and international policies and laws on forests and land are constantly improved.

A large part of this work takes place with communities impacted by operations which destroy and damage forests and their rivers. Indigenous territories all over Malaysia, much of them being forested, are frequently encroached by logging, plantation and mining activities.

There is a systemic lack of land tenure security for such territories as the indigenous customary land rights are generally regarded by the states as merely a right ‘to use’ the land but not as a property owning right to the land itself. Further, such communities are also susceptible to the threat of forced resettlement to make way for the construction of infrastructure such as large dams and expressways. 

Our office in Marudi, Sarawak works directly with the indigenous communities on the ground, organising various advocacy activities for the commuities as well as providing them with the necessary community mobilisation, territorial mapping and legal support, among others.


 Wildlife

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SAM is also dedicated to the protection of wildlife and its habitat and to the encouragement, promotion and enforcement of laws governing the conservation of nature, protection of our native wildlife and the habitats on which they depend. Recognised and respected as the voice for effective management of animal welfare, we are into field investigations and an advocate of animal rights.  

Raising public awareness on our stand against exploitation of animals from circuses to zoos, from animal testing to fur and leather, from poaching to endangered species, from farm animals to  companion animals to wild animals, we seek only to improve conditions in which animals are still exploited, tortured and killed for human benefit. 

Raising public awareness on our stand against exploitation of animals  from  circuses to zoos, from animal testing to fur and leather, from poaching to endangered species, from farm animals to  companion animals to wild animals, we seek only to improve conditions in which animals are still exploited, tortured and killed for human benefit.

Acknowledging that existing conservation programs are inadequate to stem the declines in wildlife, our focus is on inspiring people to value the importance of sharing this earth with the flora and fauna and to work with government bodies and try to assist in policy decisions about wild animal welfare.

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