Malaysia’s ecology is megadiverse, with a biodiverse range of flora and fauna found in various ecoregions throughout the country. If you are a nature-lover and always have the interest in exploring the best nature path of the country, let’s start with Sabah, a place that is richly blessed with nature diversity.
1) Danum Valley
Danum Valley was declared a Class I (protection) Forest Reserve by the Sabah Legislative Assembly in May 1995. In 1999, Danum Valley Conservation Area was further gazetted under The Cultural Heritage (Conservation) Enactment 1998, as a Cultural Heritage (Conservation) Area. Danum Valley Field Centre (DVFC) facilitates activities related to research, education, training and wilderness recreation; it is open to both international and local scientists/ researchers, who must first apply in waiting to the sectary, Danum Valley Management Committee. The area is also dominated by dipterocarp tress, more than 40 species of fishes and a profusion of butterflies, as well as more than 120 species of mammals including 10 species of primates can be seen in this area.
2) Maliau Basin Conservation Area
Known as Sabah’s Lost World, Maliau Basin Conservation Area (MBCA) is a remote, pristine wilderness located in south central Sabah. The 58,840 hectares area comprises an unusual assemblage of 12 forest types; definitely an excellent site for jungle trekking and bird watching. The highlight of the adventure is to trek the majestic 7 tiers Maliau Falls. Visitors may also take a night drive for wildlife spotting.
3) Semporna Priority Conservation Area
Semporna Priority Conservation Area is sized approximately 7680 km2. This area is unusual because of its rich mix of five major geomorphological reef types – proto-atoll, offshore seamount, fringing reefs, patch reefs, and a barrier reef formation. The reefs contained in this area are globally significant in terms of biodiversity and are recognised as a Globally Outstanding Priority Conservation Area within the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion, at the apex of the Coral Triangle. The area is known for its extremely high coral and fish richness, productive marine habitats, intact ecosystem of Sipadan Island Park and frequently used migratory pathway of many charismatic species including marine turtles.
4) Imbak Canyon Conservation Area
Funded by Petronas, Imbak Canyon is one of the last frontiers of contiguous lowland forest with scenic view, has high abundance of medicinal plants and presence of nearby local communities. This 30,000 hectares tropical dipterocarp rainforest is located in Ulu Kinabatangan in the Tongod District, Sandakan. The area has potential for bio-prospecting initiatives. The botanical canyon entrenched within is home to thousands of flora species, with beautiful huge and tall trees. It is a perfect for nature explorers where they can do activities like jungle trekking, climbing, bird watching, wildlife spotting and nature photography.
5) Rafflesia Forest Reserve
Located along the road from Kota Kinabalu to Tambunan, Rafflesia Forest Reserve is the main touristic target within the reserve areas with its main purpose of Rafflesia flower conservation. The place is open for public who look forward to a jungle trekking adventure to look for the world’s largest flower, Rafflesia.
6) Ulu Kalumpang Forest Reserve
Located in Tawau, Ulu Kalumpang Forest Reserve was designated as a conservation area by the Sabah Forestry Department in 1992. It is the home to a large number of Orang Utans, over 180 species of birds, Bornean Pgymy elephants and the Sumatran rhinoceros.