Forest management - Practices
Four principal silvicultural systems have been utilized in Brunei during the past century. The Shelterwood Compartment System was applied to Dryobalanops rappa forests in the 1930s to late 1950s. The system encouraged regeneration before final felling. The aim was to produce a pure crop of Dryobalanops rappa. When log extraction was completed in a compartment, all unwanted trees were poisoned with sodium arsenite. The treatments, however, were ineffective due to repeat occurrences of widespread forest fires. The Malayan Uniform System was adopted in 1958 in the Andulau Forest Reserve. Under this system, all residual trees over 15 cm in diameter were poison-girdled in order to stimulate regeneration. Climbers were also cut to release the desired crop trees from strangulation and competition. Treatments were repeated at 10 to 15-year intervals. Since the 1970s, enrichment planting has also been carried out in understocked secondary forests. For mangrove forests, Initial Stick Thinning was utilized for many years to assist regeneration. Stick thinning was followed after 3 to 5 years by a final felling. A minimum girth limit was imposed, determined by the smallest commercial size of mangrove poles. Since 1986, a modification of the Selective Management System (SMS) practiced in Malaysia has replaced the Malayan Uniform System. This system, known as the Brunei Selection Felling System, involves pre- and post-logging assessment of the timber stand. Trees to be cut and harvested, as well as remaining trees that constitute the next timber crop, are marked. Woody climbers are removed if they pose competition or if they are likely to hamper logging operations. Harvested commercial species and size is governed by a set of diameter limits. At the same time, undesirable trees are cut to liberate the selected residual crop trees from competition. About 10 years after logging, silvicultural treatments are applied through the end of the cutting cycle. The application of enrichment planting in understocked areas and openings created during logging operations, is an important component of the system.
Forest conservation measures
There is very little threat to forests and biodiversity of Brunei. The country enjoys a high standard of living through its significant oil reserves and, with a relatively low population density, pressure on forest resources is very low. Timber exporting is banned and very limited logging activities harvest only to meet local needs. Around 80 percent of Brunei¿s land is under forest cover and around 40 percent has been unaffected by human activity. The country has a significant protected areas network with around 20 percent of the total land area under some form of protection. Brunei has one large national park (Ulu Temburong) and a large number of forest reserves managed mainly for protection, conservation or recreation. In general, the major habitat types are well represented within the protected areas system, with swamp forests being the only habitat potentially underrepresented. The National Forest Policy emphasizes environmental conservation and protection taking into account the need to conserve and maintain the nation¿s biodiversity heritage. This Policy also addresses the need to protect water catchment areas and to prevent erosion and flooding.
Forest protection measures
Efforts to strengthen the institutional, technical and legal capacity to prevent and combat forest fires have been undertaken. These include physical measures such as establishing fire breaks in forest reserves, construction of observation towers for early detection and warning, and fences that prevent people from entering some fire sensitive areas. Ground and aerial forest fire fighting capacity (in terms of equipment) is also being continuously enhanced and improved. Public awareness programmes also comprise an important part of Brunei¿s strategy for fire prevention. Brunei has been working closely with Malaysia in combating forest fires in areas bordering shared national boundaries.
Severe forest fires were reported in 1958. Fires were also reported in lowland dipterocarp forests in 1969 and 1970. The principal forest fire problem for Brunei is atmospheric pollution from periodic fires in neighbouring countries.
Forest harvesting practices
Private sector harvesting of commercial and obligatory timber is permitted by the Government of Brunei under the supervision of the Forestry Department. Harvesting is based on a quota system, which is subject to periodic review. At present, logging is limited to 100 000 cubic meters per annum, and is strictly confined to meeting local needs for wood products. Consequently, the bulk of Brunei's consumption of wood products is met by imports. Harvesting in Brunei's forests is carried out almost exclusively under the Brunei Selection Felling System, as described above.