Status
Funded

Protecting the Last Great Forests of Northern Borneo

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Project Overview

The rainforests of Sabah on the Malaysian portion of the Southeast Asian island of Borneo are among the most biodiverse in the tropics.

  • Species at Risk

    11

  • Carbon stored

    n/a*

    *(metric tons of CO2 equivalents)
  • Partner

    South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP)

  • 920,000 Acres Conserved by

    Designation

Project Cost: $1,263,736
Funding Raised: $1,263,736

Please note that your donation may not be immediately reflected in the funding thermometer above.

Malaysia
Acres

920,000

Project Overview

The rainforests of Sabah on the Malaysian portion of the Southeast Asian island of Borneo are among the most biodiverse in the tropics.

  • Species at Risk

    11

  • Carbon stored

    n/a*

    *(metric tons of CO2 equivalents)
  • Partner

    South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP)

  • 920,000 Acres Conserved by

    Designation

Project Cost: £915,750
Funding Raised: £915,750

Please note that your donation may not be immediately reflected in the funding thermometer above.

Malaysia
Acres

920,000

The rainforests of Sabah on the Malaysian portion of the Southeast Asian island of Borneo are among the most biodiverse in the tropics.

However, the area’s numerous endemic and endangered species are at high risk due to habitat destruction caused by deforestation and agricultural conversion. To combat this threat, the government of Sabah has pledged to increase the extent of protected areas from a current 23 percent of land area to 30 percent.

To implement this initiative, the Sabah government has urgently requested high quality analysis on where to strategically create new protected areas. Rainforest Trust is collaborating with local partner South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP) with critical technical input from the Carnegie Airborne Observatory to generate high-resolution maps that integrate land use with biodiversity information.

The resulting data will identify the most critical and strategic areas to ensure a connected network of protected areas that will greatly benefit species such as Bornean Orangutans, Sunda Pangolins, Helmeted Hornbills, Borneo Pygmy Elephants and Clouded Leopards.

Through stakeholder engagement, cost-benefit options will be generated to reach consensus on an optimal scenario for rainforest protection in northern Borneo. Recommendations will be taken forward by Rainforest Trust and SEARRP to the Sabah Forestry Department to create new protected areas.

Did you know?

1,000,000

acres of rainforest will be safeguarded over the next four years.

The Threat

Deforestation of Sabah’s unprotected forests continues at alarming rates.

The serious threat of conversion of these forests for timber and oil palm remains extraordinarily high. Additionally, uncontrolled burning continues to severely impact Borneo’s forests, which are also being logged on unsustainable cutting cycles. Until these forests are fully protected, timber harvesting will certainly continue– resulting in further forest degradation, biodiversity losses and increased vulnerability to fire.

Explore the rainforests of Sabah

Borneo Orangutan
1 of 4

Borneo Orangutan (CR)

Sunda Pangolin
2 of 4

Sunda Pangolin (CR)

3 of 4

Helmeted Hornbill (CR)

4 of 4
The Solution

Rainforest Trust will work with SEARRP to analyze data collected from decades of field research and from aerial surveys in 2015 to determine biodiversity levels and value of sites.

Maps will then be integrated with GIS information regarding existing forest protection, threats and unallocated land parcels to generate an explicit network of new protected areas, taking into account the critical need for forest habitat connectivity. Pre-existing commercial contracts and government development projects will need to be identified and evaluated. Local populations and communities will be surveyed in order to establish tenure, user and access rights, as well as community reliance on the target areas for ecological services. Through a series of workshops and consultations, consensus will be built to balance conservation imperatives, community requirements and development targets. All of these activities will result in a prioritization plan for where the new protected areas should be placed. The Sabah Forestry Department is committed to creating new protected areas once this analysis is done. Once designated, boundaries will be marked in accordance with the Sabah Forestry Department’s standard procedures. Patrol teams will be comprised of Sabah Forestry Department rangers, honorary wardens and rangers appointed from local communities to ensure the continued protection of the designated areas.

Partnering to Save Rainforest

Our partners’ ability to work with their governments and build strong connections with local communities ensures the successful implementation of our projects.

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