An intergovernmental organization representing countries that produce the bulk of the world’s timber has thrown its support behind a decade-long effort to protect the last remaining primary forest in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. In its November 2020 meeting, the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) endorsed a proposal by the Forest Department Sarawak (FDS) for what’s been called the Baram Peace Park. The proposed park would cover 2,835 square kilometers (1,095 square miles) of northeastern Sarawak on the island of Borneo, incorporating a hodgepodge of undulating forests, past and current timber and oil palm concessions, and agricultural lands for the thousands of Indigenous people who live in the area. “The project objectives contribute strongly to ITTO’s mandate to promote sustainable forest management in the tropics, including through empowering and engaging with local communities,” the ITTO told Mongabay in a written statement. Three peaks jut from the forest within the boundaries of the proposed park. Image by John C. Cannon/Mongabay. Peter Kallang, chairman of the Malaysian NGO SAVE Rivers, said the ITTO’s backing is “one step ahead after all the years of working on it.” But he also acknowledged that the ITTO’s stamp of approval did not mean that the park would come to fruition. With the endorsement, the ITTO and the Sarawak state government will now search for other member countries to donate about 40% of the park’s roughly $2 million price tag. The prospective donor or donors will likely be one of the 38 tropical timber-consuming countries that are…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer