100,000 trees

100,000 trees at Lower Kawag Sabah (2023)

1 Million Forest Trees Planting Campaign: Rehabilitation of Orangutan Habitat, Lower Kawag, Sabah

In July 2019, Ministry of Primary Industries and Commodities (MPIC) launched “1 Million Forest Trees Planting” Campaign as an initiative to uplift the image of Malaysian palm oil industry.

The campaign was launched in  collaboration and strong support from Sabah Forestry Department (SFD) with the aim for a greener Malaysia in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. This project was initiated under the Malaysian Palm Oil Green Conservation Foundation (MPOGCF).

Despite being challenging and expensive, forest restoration efforts are immensely rewarding and beneficial as acknowledged by the ministry and the Malaysian government. Acknowledging this fact, the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for “Forest Rehabilitation of Orangutan Habitat at Lower Kawag, Ulu Segama Forest Reserve” was signed between Conservator of Forests, Sabah and  Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC). 

The MPOC with SFD have identified 2,500 hectares of degraded forest in Lower Kawag, part of Ulu Segama – Malua Forest Reserve in Lahad Datu, to be planted with fast growing indigenous forest species and native fruit trees. This is done with the engagement of local communities that also offers them an opportunity for an additional income stream and at the same time preserving the forest landscape. The programme will also enrich forest biodiversity in the selected area that will also act as wildlife corridors and wildlife refugia in the long run.

Project Site: Lower Kawag, Ulu Segama – Malua Forest Reserve

Ulu Segama-Malua District Forestry Office in Kawag Forest Reserve. ©

The project area of Lower Kawag is part of the Ulu Segama – Malua Forest Reserve in the district of Lahad Datu, Sabah. It covers an area of 2,500 hectares of degraded forest which was severely logged-over and also damaged due to forest fire. This part of the forest reserve is an important wildlife corridor to many including the endangered Bornean pygmy elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis) and the Bornean orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus).

The project site borders Bukit Piton Forest Reserve, which is small in size but has a huge significance in biodiversity conservation – being the home to approximately 300 orangutans which is totally protected for the continuous survival of the orangutan population. The site may also create better connectivity for the orangutans which are isolated by the palm oil plantations and river networks. Similar restoration project was developed by WWF-Malaysia with Sabah Forestry Department (SFD) in North Ulu Segama in 2007 which was completed in November 2019, by planting more than 300,000 trees over an area of 2,400 hectare of degraded forest.