Alpha Project 3: Maliau Basin Conservation Area
Maliau Basin is known as ‘the land that time forgot’ and it will not take long before our Raleigh volunteers see why; this is an area of awe-inspiring beauty. A 130 million year-old primeval rainforest; the volunteers will be entering Borneo’s Jurassic Park.
Despite its stunning landscape, not everyone knows or has heard about “Maliau Basin”. It is a Class One protected rainforest. ‘The basin’ spans 25 Kilometres in diameter with formidable cliffs as high as 1,700 meters. The forests within these walls are some of the oldest and untouched in all of Borneo. The highest point is thought to be Gunung Lotung (Mount Lotung) which is over 1,600m in elevation.
Working in partnership with Yayasan Sabah, the Raleigh project team Alpha 3 will repair a reforestation nursery previously damaged by Pygmy Elephants, as well as improving two nature trails for use by 2000 researchers and visitors who visit the site annually.
Raleigh has been working with Yayasan Sabah to cement Maliau’s reputation as one of the world’s most important ecological areas; Alpha 3’s project works towards this goal. The biological value and rich biodiversity of the area, coupled with the importance of it as a pure water catchment area signifies its importance for conservation. Due to the rich diversity of indigenous vegetation, the area is seen as a potential gene bank for the rest of Sabah to help with future reforestation.
Alpha 4 project: Taliwas Forest Reserve
Taliwas Forest Reserve is a spectacular protected rainforest owned and managed by Yayasan Sabah, east of the Danum Valley Conservation Area, and west of the area’s largest town, Lahad Datu. With Raleigh’s help, reserve manager Kai and his team of six rangers are keen to raise Taliwas’ profile toward eventually becoming a top biodiversity research area alongside the likes of Danum Valley and Maliau Basin.
Alpha 4 will tackle four projects in succession. Phase One will focus on completing the 60-metre wetland boardwalk improving access into the conservation area. The next phase will consist of the building five new accommodation huts. Most of Taliwas’ current visitors are local weekenders who come for waterfall treks, BBQ-ing, swimming in the river and to ride cycling trails. Many don’t stay longer than a day due to limited accommodation options, these new huts will transform the quality of visits to the Reserve. The Alpha group will also undertake trail maintenance (clearing/trimming trek and cycle routes around the reserve).
There is also scope to improve the trail that circles the reserve, and to begin work on an electric fence to discourage elephants from passing through the main camping area and clashing with people.
Through its environmental projects Raleigh is aiding the protection of biodiversity; and enhancing ecosystem resilience. By supporting infrastructure projects it enables the protection and management of important rainforests and crucial scientific research.