Sabah is also affected by the global problem of deforestation. Many Sabah forests were exploited during the boom of timber industry started in the 70s. By the 90s, many virgin forests are gone forever.
Instead of replanting, forests are replaced by the planting of cash crops, especially palm oil. Sabah at present is the largest oil palm cultivation state in Malaysia.
As a result of this, Sabah lost much of its natural water catchment areas and this led to constant floods in the state. Notwithstanding, many wildlife like elephants, pangolins, bantengs and rhinoceros were driven to extinction due to the unsustainable forestry practice, fires also broke out in the state forests, especially during extended period of dry-spells.
Yet, the Sabah government along with its FMUs remain committed to retain 50% forest cover while reserving 30% under total protected areas. The effort is done via replanting schemes and others.
The Sabah Government also banned the export of round logs to boost local industries which will create job opportunities for locals.