PEKAN: The state government will do all it can to ensure that its 230,600ha of peat swamp forest, the biggest in Asia, stayed intact and unspoiled despite development in Pahang.
State Local Government, Environment and Health Committee chairman Datuk Hoh Khai Mun said the state government would ensure that the area would continue to be preserved and conserved.
“If there is a need to develop the surrounding areas such as for new plantations, it will be done according to the set guidelines,” he said after launching a Voluntary Carbon Offset Scheme (VCOS) in the Pekan forest reserve near Sungai Bebar here on Thursday.
“The scheme was sponsored by Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and jointly coordinated with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and state agencies.
Also present were the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Zool Azha Yusof, forestry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Abdul Rahim, state forestry director Datuk Mohd Paiz Kamaruzaman and MAS operation director Capt Md Azharuddin Osman
“Part of the peat swamp, involving 119,646ha, is within the permanent forest reserve that plays a crucial part in the eco-system.
“There are more than 50 species of mammals, 54 types of fish, 30 kinds of migratory birds and 13 types of snakes,” he said.
Hoh stressed that the peat swamp acted as a ‘carbon sink’ which absorbed carbon dioxide from the air and helped reduce global temperatures.
It also functions as natural flood mitigation, he added.
Hoh said RM83mil in land premium, royalties and other forms of taxes was collected from forestry activities last year.
“It is the third largest contributor to the state government’s earnings,” he added.