Some 7,248 hectares of more than 600,000 hectares of permanent forest reserves in Kelantan have been illegally occupied since the 1980s, said Kelantan Forestry Director Zahari Ibrahim.
He said the illegally cleared forest land was now used for agriculture, including oil palm, and in some areas, developed into settlements.
However, a committee on the enforcement of permanent forest reserve land under the National Forestry Act, has been formed to address the problem, he told reporters when met at his office yesterday.
He said reforestation would be carried out in the illegally cleared areas and the state government had approved two companies — Gunung Basor Enterprise and Kundor Tegoh Solution Sdn Bhd — to carry out the job in areas covering 100 hectares.
In other areas that were illegally cleared and used for farming purposes, he said the department would destroy the crop, as was done on a four hectare area which was planted with oil palm in Gunung Rabung, Kuala Krai, recently.