Overview of Forest Sector

Brunei Darussalam, which had a forest cover of 413kha in 2010, lost 33kha in 2020 and held a forest cover of 380kha, 72.1% of total land area (5,765km²)[1]. As of 2020, forest growing stock accounts for 72.20 million m³ over bark, carbon stock in biomass 143.95 tonnes/ha, and total carbon stock accounts for 198.74 tonnes/ha, respectively. As of 2015, Forest ownership is all in the public, and management rights of public forests are under public administration[2]. Brunei, which was almost 100% natural regeneration forest until 1990, initiated the Planted Forest little by little in 2000, and 5.26kha, 1.38% of the total Forest Area, grew into a Planted Forest in 2020[3].

The forest of the country is categorized according to the primary function they are intended to serve as follows: Protection Forests, Production Forests, Recreational Forests, Conservation Forests, and National Park. Primary designated management objectives can be classified into 4 as follows: Production (138 kha), Social Services (50 kha), Conservation of biodiversity (28 kha), and Protection of soil and water (18 kha). There is 19kha of forest area within protected areas which account for merely 5% of forest area. The country has 7 types of forests – Mixed Dipeterocarpus, Peat Swamp forest, Mangrove, Freshwater Swamp forest, Montane, and Kerangas – of which the mixed dipeterocarpus is predominant[4].

The 2020-2022 Strategic Plan of the Forestry Department is in line with the new direction of the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism which places emphasis on Gross Domestic Product[5]. In the Strategic Plan, the mission is to accelerate the growth of high technology-based and export-oriented forestry industry output by encouraging local and foreign direct investment participation as well as focusing on increasing productivity and producing high-value products by emphasizing the balance of the environment and social needs. Along with this, there are 6 key strategic themes that are identified and need to be achieved by the forestry industry as follows: 1) Increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP); 2) Increased Government Revenue Collection for National development; 3) Create employment opportunities especially for local people; 4) Develop Non-Timber Forest Product Industry (NTFP); 5) Increasing the competitiveness of the production of export-oriented products; and 6) The use of modern machines and techniques towards increasing productivity. As of 2019, the contribution of the forestry industry to GDP accounts for 0.18%.

According to the Statistics 2011-2020, the overall product value of the forestry industry for the year 2020 has recorded a total of USD 29.77 million, compared to $ 37.17 million in 2019. In 2020, the Forestry Sector Industry has recorded total output of $ 29.57 and generated 667 jobs. A total of 158 people (24%) are local workers and 509 people (76%) were foreign workers[6].

[1] The World Bank, World Development Indicators (2020). Forest Area, Brunei Darussalam [Data file].
[2] FAO. 2021. Global Forest Resources Assessment. Brunei Darussalam.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, Brunei Darussalam. Forest Type. Accessed on Nov. 30, 2021.
[5] Forestry Department, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism. 2020. Strategic Plan 2020-2022.
[6] Forestry Department, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism. 2020. Statistics 2011-2020.