Oil palm cultivation is one of the main economic activities of the state, which not only effect extensive land development but also provides substantial revenue to the state as well as the nation as a whole. It is also one of the pivotal a spects that act as the catalyst for regional infrastructural development, particularly road network within interior areas.
Oil palm cultivation, that is economically viable to be developed in the scale of plantations, may result in destruction of ecological habitats, change in hydrological regime of the region, and contribute to waterway pollution in terms of increased suspended solids content and elevated levels of agro-chemicals therein. As oil palm cultivation normally takes place covering large areas, the impacts are regional in nature and thus activities related to its development and implementation need to be subject to a holistic planning in order to control and eliminate as much as possible any adverse repercussions.
In Sabah, the Environmental Conservation Department is charged with regulating the development of oil palm plantation effective September 1999 to ensure that the implementations are conducted in an environmentally responsible manner.
This guideline is produced to provide guidance on the scope of environmental considerations required during the planning, implementation and abandonment stage of oil palm plantation development activities. It should be regarded as complementary to the Handbook for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in Sabah and should be used in conjunction with EIA Guidelines for Forestry and Land Conversion, both also published by the Environmental Conservation Department.
This Guideline is intended for use by project proponents, environmental consultants and approving authorities when initiating, assessing and approving the EIA for oil palm plantation development activities in the State of Sabah.
Through use of this document it is intended that the key environmental considerations will be identified in the planning of oil palm plantation development activities. Early identification of potential environmental considerations will ensure that subsequent developments will be carried out with minimal adverse environmental impacts.