Piasau Nature Reserve project not a waste of resources, says SFC

MIRI: The development of Piasau Nature Reserve (PNR) is running according to plan, amidst criticisms by some quarters which claim that the project is just a waste of resources.

Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) deputy general manager (protected areas and biodiversity conservation) Oswald Braken Tisen said the demolition of 140 buildingson the 88.5-hectare site gazetted for the reserve was being done meticulously.

After these old buildings have been demolished, we will replant some areas with suitable trees, as approved by the government.

We realise that there are some people who question why these buildings are being taken out. In reality, these structures are already more than 30 years old and really dilapidated some are beyond repair. To all Mirians, please bear with us because what we are doing is making this area into a nice nature reserve, equipped with all the proper facilities for you to enjoy, he said after witnessing the presentation of official appointment letters to 60 Special Park Committee (SPC) members by State Controller of National Parks and Nature Reserves, Sapuan Ahmad, here yesterday.

Braken was also asked by reporters about reports on some individuals allegedly attempting to burn down a section of the nature reserve.

So far, we have not received any report on that; otherwise our management would have been informed (about it). We, however, believe that there was an (arson) attempt outside the reserve. Nevertheless, SPC will continue to monitor the activities there, he said.

On the demolition of buildings, Braken said it should be completed by this December.

An international consultant will help to develop the reserve, with project works scheduled tocommence early next year, he said.

Piasau Camp Nature Park Society deputy chairman Musa Musbah and his secretary Andy Chia, as well as International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) member Dr Lisa Marie King were among those appointed as SPC members for PNR.

I am honoured by the appointment. I will be one of the people in Miri here speaking our minds when it comes to how we can improve Sarawaks nature reserves and parks, for the benefit of locals, tourists and the business community.

At the same time, we can help the government to raise awareness of the need to combat illegal logging, King told The Borneo Post here.

On the other hand, Musa an honorary Forest Ranger and chairman of the Miri Chapter of Malaysian Nature Society pledged to do his best towards contributing to the protection and conservation of the states forests.

The PNR, which was gazetted on June 12 this year, is regarded as among a handful of nature reserves in the country that are the habitat of hornbills. It is also home to some 100 species of birds, mammals, butterflies and amphibians, as well as plants that have medicinal values.