This is Part 2 of our four-part #LadangHutan series. The series investigates forest plantations in Peninsular Malaysia.
IN MALAYSIA, forest reserves can be selectively logged. Clear-felling was prohibited in forest reserves (“reserves”) except for developing limited plots of forest plantations. That changed when the National Land Council extended a warm welcome to planters.
In 2012, the Council, chaired by the Prime Minister and comprising Menteris Besar and Chief Ministers, approved forest plantation zones of 439,189 ha within forest reserves in Peninsular Malaysia. That covers 9% of forest reserves.
It was a clear call by the country’s highest-level body on land-use policy for more forest plantations inside reserves.
Whistleblowers and others in possession of sensitive information of public concern can now securely and confidentially share tips, documents, and data with the Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Investigations Network (RIN), its editors, and journalists.
And just a few years before, in 2007, the federal government had started issuing loans for forest plantation projects (see Part 1: Tree Farming Gone Wrong).
State governments, who oversee land-use and forests, stepped on the throttle. They approved more licenses to clear reserves for forest plantations. Between 2007-2020, a total of 256,769 ha in reserves was cleared. That is 5.2% of reserves in Peninsular Malaysia.
Use the tool below to visualise 256,769 ha.