TDM | Large-Scale Deforestation in Malaysia, warns WWF

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  • 01 Feb 2018 12:00 AM
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TDM Land Grant Will Mean ‘Large-Scale Deforestation’ in Malaysia, warns WWF

Malaysian state-owned plantation company TDM Berhad has been accused by a green group of accepting forest-covered land from the provincial government, with the intent to clear it to develop oil palm plantations. In a press statement, the Malaysian arm of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) contends that TDM acquired 4,515 hectares of forest reserve land offered by the Terengganu state government. WWF says that this deal will amount to ‘large-scale deforestation’—will also see TDM pay RM250 (US$63) per hectare per year to a trust fund for wildlife conservation and conflict management.

As a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, the Malaysian plantation firm is at risk of membership termination if its expansion plans fail to comply with RSPO’s principles. Local media reports point to the fact that the state government has switched the status of the land from forest reserve to government land, and to compensate will award other forested areas with reserve status. WWF-Malaysia has opposed this conversion of forest reserve land, as this conversion of primary or secondary forests to oil palm plantations would equate to large-scale deforestation, leading to loss of biodiversity, tremendous direct and indirect socioeconomic impacts, and disruption of delicate ecosystems.

According to Stefano Savi, Global Outreach and Engagement Director at RSPO, non-compliance with RSPO principles and criteria, if not rectified, can result in termination of TDM Berhad’s RSPO membership.

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