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Danum Valley Field Centre
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Early morning at Danum Valley Field Centre
This is not
a place to stay around in bed till afternoon. If you get lucky, you can get
a glimpse of some animals during the early morning hours.
Blogger : Rozita
|Local resident looks to publish books about wildlife, volunteer work in Borneo : http://www.morningstarpublishing.com/articles/2015/01/03/|
Danum Valley Field Centre provides facilities for research, education and wilderness recreation in one of Sabah's last strongholds of undisturbed lowland rainforest, the 438 sq km Danum Valley Conservation Area.
Sited beside the Segama River, which forms the boundary of the Conservation Area, the Centre is located 81 km west of La had Datu and several km from any other habitation, a truly remote setting. Research efforts have revealed a tremendous variety of plants and a full range of Sabah's lowland fauna, including such rare and endangered species as the Sumatran rhino, banteng (tembadau), Asian elephant, clouded leopard, orang utan and proboscis monkey. Bird life is equally varied with over 300 species recorded to date in the area.
The Field Centre is run by the Sabah Foundation (Yayasan Sabah Group) under the aegis of a Management Committee which includes the Sabah Forestry Department, the Sabah Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Universiti Malaysia Sabah and several other agencies with interests in forest research and conservation.
The forest around Danum Valley Field Centre is dominated by dipterocarp trees, with the canopy reaching a height of over 70 meters in places. Some 90% of the Conservation Area is classified as lowland dipterocarp forest with the remaining 10% being low canopy, sub-montane forest mainly found on Mt. Danum in the heart of the Conservation Area. Interestingly, there are very few large palms in Danum Valley.
This forest is alive with animals if you take time to look closely. The rare Wallace's flying frog, soft shelled turtles, skinks, vipers, more than 40 species of fishes and a profusion of butterflies, such as the spectacular Rajah Brooke, can be seen. More than 120 mammals including 10 species of primates are found here. This area is an important habitat for orang utan and, due in part to minimal hunting pressure, is particularly rich in other large mammals including the Asian elephant, Banteng, Malayan sun bear, clouded leopard, bearded pig and 5 species of deer. It also provides one of the last refuges in Sabah for the critically endangered Sumatran rhino. Over 300 species of bird have been recorded including Bulwer's pheasant, 7 species of pitta, the Borneo Bristlehead and all 8 species of hornbill found in Borneo.
ACTIVITIES AT THE FIELD CENTRE
A long-term research programme was initiated in 1984 as a collaborative venture between the Danum Valley Management Committee and The Royal Society, London.
The main aims of the programme are;
1. To gain scientific understanding of the ecological processes that maintain tropical rainforest.
2. To provide training opportunities for Malaysians in ecology, forestry and related sciences.
3. To assess the impact of logging and provide information which may contribute to improve forest management.
The Centre is open to both international and local researchers, who must first apply in writing to the Secretariat of the Danum Valley Management Committee. Some 300 studies have been completed or are in progress, many of them collaborative between Malaysian and overseas scientists. Major studies have focused on natural forest dynamics, regeneration within artificial gaps, nutrient cycling and the effect of logging on water quality and vertebrate populations. Research facilities include established research plots in the forest, a canopy observation tower and platforms and access to logged forest of known history which allows comparative research between primary and secondary forests.
OUTDOOR & INDOOR ACTIVITIES
There are lots of outdoor and indoor activities that visitors can do at the Field Centre. Among the popular outdoor activities are guided forest trekking, bird watching, night drives, guided night walks, sunrise/sunset watch, tree platform climbing and trips to INFAPRO and Borneo Rainforest Lodge. For those who like indoor activities, we have the Nature Discovery Centre, slide/video shows, talks by scientists, interpretive displays and environmental education activities.
Conservation and good forest management require support from the general public. Yayasan Sabah Group together with the Sabah Education Department launched the Sabah Nature Club in October 1988 as a membership organization for school children. Hundreds of local students have since participated in various exciting programmes carried out at the Field Centre. In 1996, a Nature Discovery Centre was completed, providing interactive environmental education activities for alt visitors, including school children. Amongst the wide range of other activities available are orienteering, blindfold walk, nature songs, debates, role play, quiz, riddles, environmental games and training in bird-watching techniques.
The environmental education programmes at the Centre are not only for Malaysians but also for overseas participants. Since 1998, students from Japan have held their Borneo Jungle School in Danum Valley Field Centre and have made it a yearly activity. Since environmental education is to enhance public awareness about conservation and the environment, Sabah Shell Petroleum Co. Ltd. initiated a support system by donating the SHELL Nature Interpretation and Environmental Education Building. The company also initiated a programme for special children at the Centre in 2000, co-organized by the Sabah Special Olympics and Yayasan Sabah Group.
Danum Valley Conservation Area is a Class I Protection Forest Reserve and as such cannot be logged. The surrounding forests are exceptionally well stocked with trees of the Dipterocarpaceae family, which are valued for the high quality of their timber. Since the forests face unprecedented pressure from human activity, such as conversion to other land use and timber harvesting, achieving a balance between economic exploitation and ecological preservation is a major concern. To prevent the forest disappearing altogether, sustainable management of the commercial forests surrounding Danum Valley has been introduced, such as through the Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) Project and the INFAPRO Project.
Reduced Impact Logging (RIL)
The Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) Project is a joint project between Innoprise Corporation Sdn Bhd and New England Power (NEP) of USA. The first phase of the project that commenced in 1992 covered 450 ha ofUlu Segama Commercial Forest Reserve near Danum Valley.
The objective of the RIL Project is to reduce the damage caused by logging to the soil surface and residual trees by 50% in comparison to conventional logging methods. This objective is achieved through a series of appropriate preoperational planning and harvesting activities as stated in the RIL Guidelines.
The INFAPRO Project is a collaborative project between Innoprise Corporation Sdn Bhd and the Forests Absorbing Carbon Dioxide Emissions (FACE) Foundation of the Netherlands. It was established in 1992 to promote the rehabilitation of forests to absorb CO; from the atmosphere.
The project involves large-scale enrichment planting of dipterocarps in logged over rain forest, as well as tending of naturally regenerating dipterocarp seedlings, other commercial timber species and forest fruit trees. The aim of the project is to rehabilitate 25,000 hectares of logged-over forest in Sabah over 25 years, by enrichment planting using indigenous tree species and liberation of natural regeneration.
Danum Valley Field Centre has a wide range of facilities besides visitor accommodation, such as scientists' quarters, laboratories, library, computer room (with 'broadband' services), conference room, environmental education building with classroom, theatre and display areas, multi purpose hall, badminton and basketball courts, public telephone, research plots and over 50 kilometers of marked trails, including a self-guided nature trail. Electricity is available from 7.30 am-11.00pm.
ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS
Packed lunches can be provided if ordered one day in advance. Coffee and tea are available free of charge in the dining hall area for residents paying full board only. Drinking water is available in the dining area free of charge.
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