Last week representatives from the Sabah Foundation, the Danum Valley Management Committee, and the South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARPP) convened to renew their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the Danum Valley Research and Training Programme. This renewal marks the continuation of a long-standing collaboration that was forged nearly four decades ago and is a testament to a shared commitment to further scientific progress and foster mitigation strategies in response to the challenges posed by climate change and biodiversity loss.
Danum Valley was officially created in 1981 when the Sabah Foundation took decisive action to voluntarily set aside the area as a result of its remarkable biodiversity. This step was later strengthened in 1996 when the Danum Valley Conservation Area was declared a fully projected Class I Forest Reserve.
SEARRP was established by the Royal Society in 1984 and headquarted at the Danum Valley Field Centre. The scientific programme in Danum Valley, which the first MoU underpinned, has a twofold purpose: to enable and facilitate world class research in pristine and recovering rainforest and to nurture a new generation of scientists capable of addressing complex issues related to rainforest conservation and management.
Over the last four decades, the programme has involved hundreds of local and international students and scientists, whose work has generated over 700 peer-reviewed articles – many of which have been published the the world’s leading academic journals. Additionally, the programme has supported over 250 students through their PhD and Master’s degrees, with at least 80 of these being early career scientists from Malaysia, mostly Sabahans. The research conducted in Danum Valley has led to a step-change in our understanding of tropical rainforests, their conservation and sustainable management.