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INTRODUCTION

Ulu Padas, the up-river triangle of mist-shrouded mountains in south-western Sabah, is one of the most important areas for plant biodiversity in Asia. It is located close to the point where Sabah, Kalimantan and Sarawak meet, and therefore it has the potential to be part of an important transboundary protected area.

Previous research on plants carried out here by WWF Malaysia in association with the Sabah Government (under the Sabah Biodiversity Conservation Project, 1997-1998) confirmed that Ulu Padas boasts outstanding species diversity and unusually high levels of endemism. Orchids, pitcher plants, gingers and tree-living epiphytes such as the Monkey's Head plant are abundant. Many new records of plants never before recorded from Sabah have come to light.

All the evidence suggests that Ulu Padas is a hotspot of biodiversity comparable in importance to Mount Kinabalu. In addition, unusual forest types such as a highland swamp forest, mossy Agathis forest and patches of highland kerangas (heath) forest present opportunities for more new discoveries.

Two villages, Long Pasia and Long Mio are nestled within this remote area. This is the homeland of the Lun Dayeh people, who have a rich tradition of reliance of the surrounding forest and rivers that supply many of their daily needs. Recognising a common objective of forest conservation to protect soil, water and biological diversity, the Community-based Forest Conservation and Development Project in Ulu Padas, Sabah was initiated with an inception phase in 1999 by WWFM and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Sources: WWF Malaysia

 


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