The Sabah Forestry Department (SFD) was established in 1914 when the state was still under the rule of the British Borneo Chartered Company. Starting from a humble beginning of 6 staff, the department has grown over the years and has established 27 District Forestry Offices with a workforce of about 2,000 staff.
The past functions of the department focused primarily on the collection of royalty. The department however has evolved over the years and later assumed broader responsibilities covering the protection and conservation of forest reserves based on the concept of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM).
Since its establishment, the Forestry Department has established forest reserves throughout the state, and is currently the custodian for about 3.6 million hectares or 49.1% of the state’s land mass. Based on the powers vested under the Forest Enactment 1968 and Forest Rules 1969, the department has undertaken various efforts to protect and manage the state’s forests.
The crucial turning point which has influenced the department as an organisation is in the late 1980s when SFM was introduced and later adopted for statewide application in 1997. Since then, the department had been restructured and its capacity enhanced to cover the many facets of SFM.