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Assessing and conserving plant diversity in commercially managed tropical rainforests in Sabah - COMPLETED 2010.

A Guide to the Plants of East Sabah; a field guide to common families of lowland rainforests of Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon was published in 2010

Participant of the 2004 Danum valley plant collecting course sorting specimens. Photo: J. Gregson.

Much of the plant diversity of the lowland rainforests of Sabah (Malaysian Borneo) resides in the timber concessions of forestry companies. As a key ecosystem component in supporting and maintaining general biodiversity, it is critically important that plant diversity in managed forests is assessed and high conservation-value forests are protected, ideally through the framework of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.

The project aimed to address these needs through a programme of training, research and institutional capacity building within the Sabah Forest Department, Yayasan Sabah and other major Malaysian forest management companies. The project team has taught courses and assisted in training in the following areas: plant identification through staff training; use of herbarium specimens; targeted collecting and the production of print and web-based checklists and interactive keys; habitat assessment and vegetation mapping, using ground surveys and interpretations of satellite imagery and aerial photographs; and the identification of high conservation-value forests based on plant diversity and vegetation type.

The project started in early 2005 and the final phase, the production of a Guide to the Plants of East Sabah; a field guide to the 84 most commonly encountered families in the lowland rainforests of Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon was published in 2010.

Project partners and collaborators

Malaysia
Royal Society South-East Asia Rainforest Research Programme (SEARRP), Danum Valley Field Centre, Sabah
Sabah Forest Department, Sandakan
Yayasan Sabah, Kota Kinabalu

Project funders

UK
Darwin Initiative

Project team

Herbarium

Rogier de Kok, Timothy Utteridge, Alison Moore