MIRI: The Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) is working out a management plan with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to conserve Loagan Bunut, Sarawak's largest natural freshwater lake that is in danger of becoming extinct.
The SFC in a statement said the development and implementation of the plan would encourage the conservation and sustainable use of globally significant genetic, species and ecosystem diversity of peat swamp forest surrounding the lake that had been declared a national park in 1990.
The UNDP will fund the project under its Global Environment Facility (UNDP/GEF) that involves promoting tourism activity at the park.
SFC Chief Park Warden Wilfred Landong said in the statement that the SFC-UNDP collaboration was one of the approaches undertaken by the corporation to encourage the public and their stakeholders to learn more about the uniqueness and priceless value of the national parks in the state.
“We encourage our stakeholders to be involved in co-managing the parks,” he said, adding that the collaboration had led to the publication of a guidebook on the park that was launched here by Sarawak Assistant Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister Lee Kim Shin.
The book is the first-ever informative guide on the national park that contains a general glimpse of the park's diverse plants and animals, as well as the rich cultural heritage associated with the lake.
The plan was adopted as the lake was facing threats from land development activities upstream, which contributed substantial sediment to its bottom and raised fears it could be gone in 60 years if the problem is not addressed.
The sediment has also affected the lake's aquatic life habitat and the situation has been made worse by unsustainable fishing activities and illegal hunting of wildlife around the park.
Located in the Baram river flood plain in north-eastern Sarawak, the national park covers a 10,736ha area where the lake, depending on the season, could reach a maximum size of 650ha.
The park records over 800 species of flora and fauna rarely seen in other places as its lake and its ecosystem is the source of livelihood for local communities residing there. – Bernama