Danum Valley

Covering 43,800 hectares (438 km2), the Danum Valley Conservation Area is one of the largest, most important and best-protected expanses of pristine lowland forest remaining in SE Asia. On its eastern border is the Danum Valley Field Centre – probably the leading rainforest research centre in the Old World tropics.

Danum Valley, and several other large primary forest protected areas including the Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon Conservation Areas, are embedded within an exceptionally large (>10,000 km2) forest concession operated by Yayasan Sabah (the Sabah Foundation). The bulk of the of the Yayasan Sabah area is under a regime of natural forest management, but also includes extensive timber and oil palm plantations, community forestry programmes, eco-tourism sites and two of the region’s largest forest rehabilitation projects. Income from the Foundation’s natural forest and plantation resource base is used to fund welfare, education and conservation initiatives in Sabah. Links to Yayasan Sabah’s homepage can be found in the contacts section.


The Danum Valley Conservation Area is situated in South-eastern Sabah, Malaysian Borneo (4˚50’N-5˚00N and 117˚35’E -117K45’E). The Danum Valley Field Centre is approximately 70 km inland from the town of Lahad Datu on Sabah.


The Field Centre is easily accessed by road and the journey takes less than 2 hours from the nearest town, Lahad Datu, which is a short flight (55 minutes) from the capital of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu. Three flights operate daily between Kota Kinabalu and Lahad Datu. Kota Kinabalu is itself served by numerous daily flights from Kuala Lumpur and by regular services from other major regional hubs including Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Several international airlines fly in to Kota Kinabalu as well as a number of low-cost carriers with connections throughout SE Asia. The contacts page of this site has links to airline booking services and local travel agencies. Transport to and from Danum Valley, using the Field Centre’s vehicles, can be arranged at the time of booking.


The Danum Valley Conservation Area and activities at the field centre are overseen and directed by the Danum Valley Management Committee (DVMC). The DVMC comprises a number of Malaysian government departments (State and Federal levels), universities, research institutes, conservation organisations and NGOs. SEARRP also holds a seat on the DVMC. A full list of committee members can be downloaded here.

Day-to-day management of the Conservation Area and Field Centre is delegated by the DVMC to Yayasan Sabah (through its Conservation and Environmental Management Division), who also provide the bulk of the Field Centre’s funding and staff. A list of the Yayasan Sabah staff involved at Danum, both in the Yayasan Sabah head office in Kota kinbalu and at Danum Valley itself, can be found on the contact page.

The SEARRP Programme Manager liaises closely with the Manager of the Danum Valley Conservation Area (appointed by Yayasan Sabah), particularly to represent the interests of scientists based at Danum Valley.