IUCN’s report on Kinabalu’s carbon-emitting park “inaccurate”, says Sabah tourism minister

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah disputed as “inaccurate” a report by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which places the Unesco World Heritage site – Kinabalu Park – among the carbon-releasing forests in the ‘atmosphere.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin said the IUCN report was based solely on satellite image mapping and did not include a survey of the actual site.

“This does not reflect the real situation on the ground,” he said in a statement posted on his Facebook page on Sunday (October 31st).

The Star previously reported on a Unesco report with the World Resources Institute and IUCN on a scientific assessment that named Kinabalu Park among the 10 World Heritage sites emitting more carbon than they absorb. .

Jafry said a field inspection was carried out and they found the fallen trees were due to old age, a natural occurrence.

He said a ground survey was carried out between August 5 and 25 based on GPS readings of fallen trees (forest canopy openings).

“It’s not due to logging or other activities. Simply relying on satellite imagery was inaccurate,” he said.

He said field surveys conducted on the basis of surveillance of Sabah Parks and WWF Malaysia using Global Forest Watch since July 16 last year revealed 34 areas of canopy openings. forest using satellite imagery.

“With Kinabalu Park-World Heritage Site, field inspections based on the results of satellite image analysis were not carried out, indicating that there were doubts about the summary of the facts reported, “Jafry said

“The report published by IUCN was also found to be motivated to seek funding for high quality carbon trading related research proposals in World Heritage sites, including Kinabalu Park,” he said. added.

He said there should be more in-depth studies and not just based on analysis of satellite images.

Jafry said that for the past 10 years, there has been no logging activity or serious fires in the area, which is monitored by Sabah Parks who conduct regular patrols on schedule.

He also noted that movement control orders during the pandemic since March 18 of last year had also enabled the restoration of flora and fauna in Taman Kinabalu.

Sabah is seeking to have Kinabalu Park recognized as a Unesco Global Geopark in 2022 and international experts would begin the assessment this year if the Covid-19 pandemic situation permitted.

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