Malaysia produced an estimated 26.4 million cu m (932 million cu ft) of roundwood from a forest area of 19.3 million ha (47.7 million acres) in 2000. About 32% of the forest area is located in Peninsular Malaysia, 22% in Sabah, and 46% in Sarawak.
After 40 years of large scale conversion of lowland forest areas into agricultural plantations, the pace of new land development declined in the mid-1990s. Reduced land availability and a growing need to preserve remaining forests have resulted in a 60% reduction from the government's 1991–95 plan in the total acreage of land scheduled for development. Of the total natural forest area, 15.7 million ha (38.8 million acres) of forested land is designated as Permanent Forest Estate, of which 70% is available for sustainable production.
Exports of timber products in 2000 amounted to $3.8 billion, or 4.2% of total exports. Exports of tropical hardwoods in 2000 included (in thousands of cubic meters): logs, 6,802; lumber, 2,901; veneer, 902; and plywood, 3,355. Malaysia is the world's third leading producer (after Brazil and Slovakia) of veneer sheets, accounting for 7% of global production in 2000. In keeping with the National Forestry Policy of 1978, exports of sawlogs are being progressively reduced in favor of domestic development of veneer, plywood, furniture, and other wood-using industries. Many states ban the export of logs. Only Sarawak exports tropical hardwood logs, but its state government has also placed further restrictions on exporting logs in order to encourage expansion of value-added activities.
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