Words and images by Lim Kim Chye & Lim Swee Yian
Last Sunday, the 2 of us surveyed the Ulu Selama section of Bintang Hijau FR. It was an eye-opener for us……what we thought was the best and most protected FR is in fact under severe attack, even in remote Ulu Selama.
A few yrs ago, on our countryside drive we reached Tebing Tinggi RF (not in FD official list) and saw a road being constructed in the middle of nowhere and wondered where it was going. Now we know……this road has pushed through Kg Ulu Teras to the main Ijok – Redang Panjang road, cutting a huge swathe through Bintang Hijau FR.
One wonders about the necessity for this road……was it to serve the brand new NS camp we saw there? Not likely, as that time the NS program did not exist! Well, the nice road was just convenient for loggers to trot in and slash the forest.
It seems once a road is built through forest, automatically both sides of it for 1 km becomes state land….you can guess what follows……OP plantations and “week-end” farmers!
We saw FD Bintang Hijau FR signs by the road next to young oil palms! There were unsightly logging tracks going up and down the hillsides, road surfaces damaged by heavy logging trucks and gaping ravines. It rained in the hills in the afternoon and the river turned a thick red, full of laterite silt.
It was a dismal day, only slightly resurrected by the distant calls of 2 Rhinoceros Hornbills just as we were leaving the site.