Plantation forestry in Malaysia: an evaluation of its successes and failures since the 1970
Keywords:economic viability; forest plantation; Malaysia; pest and disease; planting stock; soil quality
With reducing supply of logs from the sustainably managed natural forest to meet the processing demand of the large wood products industry in Malaysia, plantation forestry has been gaining importance since the early 1970s. Despite the government’s efforts through the provision of financial support and incentives, investments in plantation forestry has been slow. The promising start of the large-scale forest plantation programs in the early 1970s, followed by the 1980s and then the latest program in early 2000, appear to have been a mixed bag of failures and limited success. The rather below-par performance of the forest plantations has been attributed to several factors, such as insufficient good planting stock, poor species-site matching, poor soil quality, pest and diseases and the overall poor silvicultural and management regime laid out for forest plantations. Further, plantation forestry appears to be dominated by larger companies, while small and medium companies, have limited financial resources to overcome the prevailing challenges faced. Despite the poor performance until to date, the adoption of intensive research based silvicultural and management regime for the plantation forests, which are maturing in the next years, will hopefully produce better results and serve as the sunrise for plantation forestry in Malaysia.
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