Nordic researchers have signed an agreement, brokered by Preferred by Nature, to allow them to have better access to the Maliau Basin, one of the world’s last rainforests untouched by man. Supported by IKEA, the agreement will let researchers from Nordic countries carry out studies in the Maliau Basin in Sabah, Borneo.
“The Maliau Basin is unique due to its flora and fauna and high level of biodiversity. As one of the last remaining places on Earth untouched by logging and deforestation, it is an incredibly important reference to the study of rainforest,” said Ida Theilade, Professor in Ethnobotany and Tropical Forest Governance, University of Copenhagen.
Also known as ‘The Lost World of Sabah’, the Maliau Basin is home to many threatened species such as the Borneo ‘Pygmy’ Elephant, numerous primates such as Orangutan and Gibbon, the shy and rare Tree Leopard, and wild Banten ox. Resembling the remains of a volcano or meteorite strike, the protected area also hosts more than 100 types of orchids - some of which can only be found in the Maliau Basin.
“I hope this collaboration will lead to increased and renewed interest in the scientific study of tropical forest management in both Sabah (Malaysia) and the Nordic countries. We expect to contribute with cutting-edge DNA technologies and state-of-the-art laboratories hosted by Copenhagen University,” said Ida Theilade.
The agreement was signed by members of the Nordic Rainforest Research Network, Sabah’s forestry authorities, Yayasan Sabah and Maliau Basin Management committee. It aims to ensure better access for researchers, improve understanding of biodiversity, the role of forests in climate, and restoration of forests, as well as serve to educate the next generation of scientists and forest managers in Sabah.
“This is a unique and remarkable collaboration between Denmark and Sabah,” said Ida Theilade, Copenhagen University.
Preferred by Nature has been working closely with Yayasan Sabah to protect the unique area since 1999, and the Forest Management Plan for Maliau Basin was approved as part of this collaboration in 2004.
“Research is a key priority for the Maliau Basin Conservation Area. This agreement will provide a fast track for researchers from Nordic universities to conduct research in the basin. The area has had a special connection to the Nordic countries with the support from Danida, IKEA and Preferred by Nature's long-term engagement,” said Peter Feilberg, Executive Director of Preferred by Nature.
“Ecosystem restoration addresses the two major global crises of our time - biodiversity and climate. We must restore what has been destroyed. Research will give us the knowledge to do it smartly and efficiently,” said Peter Feilberg.
Ida Theilade, is a Professor in Ethnobotany and Tropical Forest Governance at the University of Copenhagen and a member of Preferred by Nature's Board of Directors. She has been working with management and restoration of tropical forests for more than 25 years. Notably, Ida has been involved in the development of new technology to help local forestry patrols in Cambodia document and prevent illegal logging.
Peter Feilberg, Executive Director of Preferred by Nature, has extensive experience in forest and agriculture certification and has been involved in various projects related to certification and nature conservation. He is particularly noted for his involvement in the Maliau Basin conservation area in Sabah since 1999.
Benjamin Holst, Head of Press, Preferred by Nature:
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