Issues | WWF Malaysia

Issues



Logged forest, Sabah rel=
Logged forests in the interior of Sabah leads to the fragmentation of the elephant's habitat range, sometimes forcing them to encroach into areas that are populated by humans; causing unwanted conflicts between human and elephants. Thus, an unbroken forest stretching from the interior of Sabah to the Kalimantan border needs to be maintained, especially along the lowland valleys where elephants, and rhinos prefer to roam.
© WWF-Malaysia/Stephen Hogg

Keeping network of lowland forests intact within managed natural forests

Most of Sabah’s Commercial Forest Reserves have been extensively damaged by past logging and will need decades to regenerate before new timber harvesting can start again. An unbroken forest stretching from the interior of Sabah to the Kalimantan border needs to be maintained, especially along the lowland valleys that elephants need. This will provide a continuous network of protected and managed areas for large mammals such as elephants and rhinos.

In terms of food supply, Borneo Pygmy elephants thrive in logged forest due to more food abundance. There is no need to establish new “totally protected areas” to save the elephants, but critical areas for elephants within the Forest Management Units need to be identified and secured. Measures need to be put in place to keep timber production forests under long-term sustainable natural forest management.

There must be strong support to retain the whole elephant range under managed natural forests, with long-term licenses and sustainable forest management plans. Significant emerging issues are possibilities of conversion of natural forests to plantations. If conversion of forest to oil palm or industrial tree plantations is inevitable, areas with low or no usage by elephants should be chosen for this purpose.