Tree Planting Activity
Kinabatangan - Corridor of Life
The State Government declared the Lower Kinabatangan as Sabah's "Gift to the Earth" in 1999 and in 2005; 26,000 hectares of the Lower Kinabatangan were gazetted as a Wildlife Sanctuary under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment in 1997.
Since 1950s, forested land around the Kinabatangan has been converted for various economic activities such as logging activities and development of agriculture. Consequently, some logged over forests in Kinabatangan were re-designated for permanent conversion to agriculture with large scale conversion of oil palm plantations in the 1980s. Today, oil palm is the most dominant commercial crop in Kinabatangan.
Working with stakeholders and partners, the "Corridor of Life" vision was launched by the Chief Minister of Sabah in 2002 to address the issues being faced in the Kinabatangan.
The "Corridor of Life" Vision towards Sustainable Development includes:
- A forest corridor along the Kinabatangan, connecting the coastal mangrove swamps with upland forests, where people, wildlife, nature-based tourism and local forest industries thrive and support each other
- A floodplain that supports a thriving and diverse economy that offers opportunity and choice to local people and businesses
- Good environmental management of the natural capital on which all partners depend upon
- A landscape in which agriculture, people and nature conservation is united by their common source of vitality water
The project initiated by WWF-Malaysia is known "Kinabatangan - Corridor of Life (CoL)" and they have personnel based in Sukau and Kota Kinabalu with different teams within the CoL focus on different issues such as regeneration of degraded forest alternative livelihoods for local communities, management and enforcement issues. WWF-Malaysia has been working in the Kinabatangan area since the late 1990s under a project formerly known as the Partners for Wetlands.
CoL works by engaging stakeholders and partners (government agencies, oil palm companies, multinational companies, tour operators and local communities)
Tree planting activity at Borneo Nature Lodge (BNL) are in support of the government's initiative to make a wildlife corridor for the animals at the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. BNL is buying the seedlings from a nursery in Sukau, seedlings known to be suitable for wildlife such as the endangered Orang-Utan, Borneo Pygmy Elephant and etc . The nursery is run by Kinabatangan Orang Utan Conservation Project (KOCP) an NGO for the Orang-Utan research at Lower Kinabatangan river.
Therefore Borneo Nature Lodge are in co-operation with Sabah Wildlife's Department and collaborating with an NGO Nestle Project Ri-Leaf programme to plant the seedlings only at the disturb area designated by them. This project aims to regenerate forest in one of the many 'gaps' or fragments along the river, by planting local tree seedlings at the site. At the moment Borneo Nature Lodge is allocated to plant trees at Lot 3, Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary near Tenegang Besar river.
The importance of maintaining this forest corridor primarily lies in the following:
- The riverine fringe provides good fish habitat, and good fish stocks are important to the local people (Orang Sungai) because fishing in the lower Kinabatangan region is one of their main sources of income.
- Providing habitat for wildlife in the lower Kinabatangan Region is necessary in an area which has already lost large tracts of natural habitat to past and present land uses, particularly that of palm oil estates.
- Riverine vegetation provides bank stabilization and reduces soil erosion due to tidal fluctuations and waves created by the movement of boats along the Kinabatangan River.