Category: News

The Sabah Biodiversity Experiment is starting it’s first full census in 10 years!

New contract team learning how to measure trees at the Sabah Biodiversity Experiment Plot

The Sabah Biodiversity Experiment is studying the impact of tree diversity for restoration purposes in order to determine how much biodiversity is needed to maintain crucial ecosystem services like flood protection, nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration. The project covers over 500 hectares that consists of plots that have been planted in monocultures, 4 tree species or 16 species. This design allows comparisons of tree biomass production, diversity and fauna recovery and nutrient cycling between the three plots to determine if planting diversity positively affects ecosystem functions. To study this, the SBE is beginning it’s first full census in 10 years! The team, that is comprised of experts and new contract workers, have just completed 10 plots of maintenance and have just measured the first plot. Already in during the team’s measurements they have discovered a tree with 40 cm dbh (diameter at breast height) after only 22 years and the largest tree that they  measured was 54 cm dbh  and over 30 m tall!! We will be updating on the progress of this census, so be sure to watch this space!

Danum Valley is expecting high numbers of visitors and tourists September-December 2023

At a recent SEARRP staff meeting we were notified by the manager of Danum Valley that the Field Centre is expecting high numbers of tourists during the final quarter of the year. For all scientists wishing to book accommodation, please try to do so early to ensure that you have a spot at DVFC for the duration of your research. For all questions, you can contact Adrian Karolus at

Danum Valley Field Centre is expecting high tourism numbers in the final quarter of the year, be sure to book accommodation early

Knowledge sharing and exchange visit to Ulu Bendul Forest, Negeri Sembilan

TESSA outreach workshop in Negeri Sembilan

On August 15th the SEARRP team travelled to Negeri Sembilan in Peninsula Malaysia to join TESSA project members for a 2-day visit to the Ulu Bendul Recreational Forest and Pasoh 50-hectare vegetation plot. The Ulu Bendul Recreational Forest is situated in the Angsi Forest Reserve, which is located between Kuala Pilah and Seremban in the Negeri Sembilan region of Malaysia. This forest reserve is in an ecologically significant location that is characterised by indigenous foliage and numerous ponds and streams.

TESSA workshop exploring the Forest

Tree Identification

The Pasoh 50-hectare vegetation plot exhibits an exceptional degree of tree species diversity, with over 330,000 trees encompassing 818 distinct species within 295 genera and 81 families. This site exchange gave participants a hands-on opportunity to learn about the forest ecosystem of the Ulu Bendul forest and a rare insight into the important research conducted by FRIM and their research partners at Pasoh Forest Reserve.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Access and Export applications for the 3rd Quarter need to be submitted to SaBC by August 23rd, 2023

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: The Access and Export evaluation committee meeting for the 3rd quarter (meeting series 3/2023) has been rescheduled to an earlier date. Therefore, all applications must be submitted to SaBC by 23 August 2023 (next Wednesday) for evaluation. Please email or if you have any questions.

3rd Quarter Access & Export applications are due by August 23rd 2023

Signing Ceremony & Seminar of the 8th Quinquennial Memorandum of Understanding Between the Danum Valley Management Foundation, Sabah Foundation and SEARRP

Photo of representatives and participants of the 8th Quinquennial Memorandum of Understanding and Seminar

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.

Director of SEARRP, Dr Glen Reynolds, presenting on the history of the programme and the ongoing collaboration with Yayasan Sabah

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.

Representatives from the Sabah Foundation, the Danum Valley Management Committee and SEARPPat the MoU signing

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.

SEARRP Team at MoU Signing

Science & Society: Solutions to Global Challenges – workshop exploring public attitudes to global environmental challenges in Malaysia – register now!

Science & Society: Solutions to Global Challenges – workshop exploring public attitudes to global environmental challenges in Malaysia

Researchers at the School of Psychology, Cardiff University in collaboration with the South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP) are conducting two workshops for research to explore environmental challenges in Malaysia.

We are interested in public attitudes to global environmental issues and how to tackle them. We will be conducting a deliberation session to explore this topic which will entail guided group discussions, similar to a focus group discussion. Do not worry if you are unsure or do not know much about this topic. We want your opinions and perspectives!

Register here.

For more information, please contact Melissa Payne at

Permian Global biodiversity and acoustic sensor training course for SEARRP staff

Group Picture of Permian Global Staff & SEARRP RAs at recent training course

The Kuamut Rainforest Conservation Project (KRCP) staff have been busy with a training course conducted at Danum Valley Field Centre last month.  Permian Global biodiversity and acoustic sensor experts, Dr Sunarto and Dr Joshua Taylor, conducted a three-day training course to teach SEARRP Research Assistants (RAs) how to manage, monitor, and evaluate biodiversity data collected by the KRCP.

Dr Joshua introduced a new system for handling acoustic sensors using a song meter that records at dusk and dawn. In addition to teaching data management skills, the training covered how to handle and exchange micro SD cards efficiently. As part of the project, these skills will be necessary for receiving, organising, and collecting data for each site.

An additional session was conducted by Dr Sunarto to refresh and improve the RAs skills for installing camera traps. The camera traps will be used in riparian areas, carbon plots, and will be installed a different heights and elevations to obtain a wide variety of data from the sites. This project concept was designed by Dr Sarah Scriven and will be an incredibly helpful addition to the biodiversity monitoring plan established for the KRCP. We now feel that our staff are trained with these newly learned skills that will allow them to maximise their work outputs in the field!

Demonstration from Philip Ulok – the KRCP project manager – on setting up acoustic trap to the SEARRP staff

Philop Ulok training the RAs on inserting the micro SD Card efficiently in to the camera traps

Song meter acoustic sensors that are ready to be installed!

Kew Gardens First Field Course at Danum Valley Field Centre!

Kew Gardens Field Course – Danum Valley Field Centre 2023

Kew Gardens recently sent it’s first field course to Danum Valley Field Centre! The group was led by two lecturers – Dr Kalsum Mohd Yusa and Dr Katherine Ann from Kew Gardens. The two week programme was filled with an excellent mix of interesting lectures and hands-on activities in the surrounding forest. The students worked together with SEARRP’s most experienced Research Assistants to learn how to set dung beetle, butterfly and light traps and a set a plot for looking at nocturnal termite activity. The students also tested out the Forest Integrated Assessment (FIA) tool, which enables non-experts to successfully assess forest quality by using the application.

Dung beetle trap

Insect survey

Evening Light Trap


Lucky Kew Gardens Field Course Students got to see Elephants!

Students had the chance to visit Innoprise-FACE Rainforest Rehabilitation Project (INFAPRO), to learn about the diversity of mushrooms with a senior lecturer from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Dr Jaya Seelan. While at INFAPRO the students visited old logging sites (Coupe 88 and Coupe 89) that were intensively logged in the 1980s but have been part of the forest rehabilitation programme since 1992. During the visit, the students were amazed to see the variety of species that have returned as a result of the rehabilitation project including insects, dipterocarp trees, birds and other rare wildlife. We are thrilled that Kew Gardens chose to work with SEARRP to host their first Danum Field Course and we are looking forward to welcoming the back in the near future!

Visit to INFAPRO with Kew Gardens field course group and Dr Jaya from UMS


The Environmental Education Kembara Rimba Taliwas programme has started our school field trips!

Student Group from SMK Kinabutan, with Trainers from Yaysasan Sabah, SEARRP and S4 Swansea University at Pandanus Trail

We are very excited to announce that the Environmental Education Kembara Rimba Taliwas programme has started it’s second phase – the school field trips! The programme is a 3-day/2 night immersive exercise at the Taliwas River and Conservation Area (TRCA), that has both classroom and field-based activities for the student participants. The SEARRP Environmental Education and Outreach team and the S4 Swansea University team recently hosted the first of eight school groups at TRCA and the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Kinabutan from Tawau was the first school to get to participate in this programme.  There were a total of 30 students and 2 teachers from SMK Kinabutan, and the EE sessions were conducted by Yayasan Sabah Forest Rangers and SEARRP Research Assistants who have just undergone our ‘Train-the-Trainers’ programme.

Classroom activities with students from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Kinabutan, Tawau

Students identifying macroinvertebrates for the Hands-on activity Living Rivers

Students identifying plant functional groups in for Activity 3- Why are my leaves that shape?

The Kembara Rimba Taliwas programme is an interactive and effective environmental education initiative that aims to make complex scientific information about the environment and climate change accessible and relevant to the next generation of environmental leaders. The programme offers classroom tutorials, hands-on activities in the field and fun interactive extracurricular activities such as arts and craft sessions and live performances presented by each student group. The feedback from our first school group was incredibly positive and we are excited to host the next seven schools!

This excellent two-year project is supported by the National Geographic Society to mentor a new generation of environmental champions through participatory science and capacity building at the Taliwas River Conservation Area.

Arts & Crafts are a great way to teach about the importance of protecting the environment – and it is so fun too!

Environmental Education ‘Train-the-Trainers’ course at Taliwas Conservation Area


‘Train-the-Trainers’ Course with participants from Yayasan Sabah & SEARRP Research Assistants

SEARRP recently held the first Kembara Rimba Taliwas  Environmental Education ‘Train-the-Trainers’ programme at the Taliwas River and Conservation Area (TRCA) located near Danum Valley Field Centre. The focus of this training was to improve individual trainers understanding of topic matters pertaining to Environmental Education, so that they would be able to teach this information to students in the future. The training programme used EE materials and content that was created by the S4 team from Swansea University and these tools will be available to the upcoming student groups that are joining the environmental education courses at TRCA.

Trainers conducting the hands-on activity: Living Rivers

The ‘Train-the-Trainers’ programme worked with participants fromYayasan Sabah and SEARRP to improve their capacity and empower them to engage students in discovering rainforest biodiversity and importance of forest conservation. The S4 team applied their expertise in training and outreach to help the participants increase their skills in giving presentations, how to successfully communicate information on the EE subject materials, and how to come together to work as a team.

Train-the-Trainers preparing a quadrant sampling point for the Hands-on Activity – Why are my leaves that shape?

The participants did an excellent job at engaging with all of these activities and have come away with valuable skills that will help them to be successful  environmental educators. The training was led by SEARRP’s Environmental Education & Outreach Manager, Imelda Geoffrey and was assisted by SEARRP’s Deputy Director Melissa Payne, as well as Paige Jennings and Rachel Tudor from the S4 team of Swansea University.

‘Train-the-Trainers’ participants learning presentation skills from the S4 team from Swansea University

‘Train-the-Trainer’ participants presenting the new information that they have learned.

It was an exciting and interactive three-day training course with a total of 17 participants from Yayasan Sabah and SEARRP. We are so proud of the significant progress that the participants have made throughout the training and we can’t wait to see their work in action when they apply the skills that they have learned to training young Sabahan students!