Central Forest Spine Master Plan

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At the Global Tiger initiative meeting in February 2012, the World Bank lauded the Government of Malaysia for coming up with the Central Forest Spine Master Plan and recommended other countries to follow Malaysia.[1]
Fragmentation of Natural Forest Cover in Peninsular Malaysia

Central Forest Spine Master Plan   (click image for larger view)

The Central Forest Spine Master Plan (CFS) is a Malaysian federal government initiative to link up 4 major forest complexes in Peninsular Malaysia with a network of ecological or green corridors to create one contiguous, forested wildlife sanctuary. There are 4 ways in which the CFS could be realized by:

  1. Maintaining or expanding existing permanent forest reserve areas;
  2. Ensuring the adoption of best forest management practices among all forest stakeholders;
  3. Rehabilitating or re-greening barren and lost wildlife corridors; and
  4. Building viaducts for wildlife crossings to reconnect fragmented forested areas.

First conceptualized in 2005 under the first National Physical Plan (NPP), the CFS Master Plan was only tabled jointly by Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in 2011 to the Cabinet for adoption. The Cabinet then appointed NRE as the main implementing agency, supported by the Forestry Department and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.

The 5-year CFS Master Plan, however, is facing "implementation difficulties", as land matters are strictly under the purview of the states and its success therefore hinges on the cooperation of the respective states concerned. To further aggravate the matter, Datuk Dr. Abdul Rahman Abdul Rahim, the Director-General of the Forestry Department, did not sound particularly enthusiastic, as when he said: "The CFS is a good project, but the problem is implementation. It's overseen by the NRE (Natural Resources and Environment Ministry) and the task to implement it was assigned to Forestry.[2] They could have given it to Perhilitan (Department of Wildlife and National Parks), which would be more appropriate because we're talking about animal conservation".[2] This is despite the fact that some 80.9% of the areas identified in the CFS are made up of permanent forest reserves that are been parked under his department.[2] Abdul Rahman also added that the CFS is the brainchild of the Town and Country Planning Department, under the Housing and Local Government Ministry.[2]

In April 2012, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) stepped in with a RM32.9 million (US$10.8 million) capacity initiative from the Global Environment Facility to help Malaysia realize the Central Forest Spine Master Plan in order to ensure the survival of many endangered species in the country.[1] Work is scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2013.[1]