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The History of Logging in North Borneo gives a very comprehensive account of the history of logging in the Malaysian state of Sabah (earlier known as North Borneo), covering every aspect of the industry from its very beginnings in the late 19th century until the present day. The trade in secondary forest products; aromatica, gums, rattan and beeswax which were collected by natives from locations deep in the forest and transported to Europe and China, some as early as the first millennia, is also discussed.
Every facet in the development of logging from the early days, when manpower was used to sophisticated mechanized operations culminating in the helicopter logging of recent years, is described in detail and illustrated with more than 400 photographs, many of them very rare. Early steam-driven machinery, the arrival of the chainsaw, the introduction of tractors and modern logging trucks – all are covered. Not forgotten are the difficulties – such as the major destruction of infrastructure during World War II – and failures – such as the experiment with elephants.
The various means of transporting logs from forest to port – hand-hauling, rail, road, water – are described in detail, as are the dramatic changes in shipping – from the hazardous days of sailing ships which could take weeks to load taking logs mostly to Australia and China to the specialised log-carriers of the 20th century heading to Japan, Korea and China.
Personalities, both local and foreign, involved in the logging industry are also given prominence, with one chapter devoted to the typical life of a pre-war logger.