Currently, there are about 15 TPAs that are open to public (which includes national parks, nature reserves and wildlife centers). These parks and nature reserves showcase the natural heritage and act as key attractions for Sarawak’s expanding tourism industry. However, wildlife sanctuaries are not open for visitors and exist to conserve vulnerable ecosystem or endangered wildlife. Each has its own crucial role in protecting the natural environment. Sarawak TPAs network system is managed by the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), a statutory body of the State Government entrusted to implement the sustainable forest management (SFM) and conservation in the state.
There are few existing and potential threats identified for terrestrial protected areas. The threats are mentioned as follows: legal and illegal land clearing, legal and illegal land conversion, legal and illegal hunting. Tourism and recreation activities are included as a pressure and potential threat in recognition that some negatives impacts may be caused by park visitors.
In Sarawak, works related to TPAs started from May 2010 in collaboration with the Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation Unit (PABC) in Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), looking into management effectiveness. Twenty-nine gazetted TPAs are participating in the assessment using the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) and expected to complete by 2013. The tool will assist SFC in TPAs management and monitoring as well as strengthening their current capacity in terms of resources, skills and institutional support. Other than that, WWF-Malaysia and PABC collaborate in identifying the capacity gaps in TPA staff’s knowledge and skills of protected area management.
Other than that, WWF-Malaysia is also in discussion with the Forest Department of Sarawak to map the vegetation type/habitat representation in Sarawak TPAs. The vegetation representation assessment will produce high-quality, standardised maps of the vegetation types within the TPAs. The maps produced and the associated information that is gathered from the assessment will be supporting resource assessment, management, and conservation efforts in TPAs management.
Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC)
Forest Department of Sarawak (FDS)