Sabah’s annual timber production should be set at 1.5 million m3 in order to maintain sustainability of the state’s forests, according to a high ranking official.

Jeflus Sinajin, head of sustainable forest management in Sabah’s forest department, said timber resources needed protection to safeguard the state’s long-term forest-related revenues.

Mr Sinajin said timber resources may only last for another 15 years or so if annual production increased to about 4 million m3.

Sabah’s timber production declined from 5.6 million m3 in 1996 to about 2 million m3 last year, when the state earned M$411m in royalties from the sector.

Mr Sinajin said forest plantations would help regenerate logged forests.