The 472km2 conservation area of Danum Valley is one of the oldest rainforests in the world (130 million years). DVCA is one of the last remaining undisturbed lowland dipterocarp rainforests in Sabah, a priceless remnant of the pristine rainforest that once covered most of Borneo. Originally, part of a forest concession assigned to Yayasan Sabah, in 1981, it was resolved that the area would remain unlogged in recognition of its outstanding biodiversity value. In May 1995, the Sabah State Legislative Assembly declared the area as a Class 1 Protection Forest Reserve. Never permanently inhabitated by humans, DVCA contains a rich of flora and fauna including the rare and endangered wildlife species such as banteng, Asian elephant, clouded leopard, orang utan, proboscis monkey
My PhD hardworking and diligent candidate Lelavathy joined her first field visit and an educational tour to Danum Valley Conservation Area (Sabah) organized by Swansea University. It was a 9 days educational tour (25/4/2019-3/5/2019). The tour was participated 24 Swansea’s undergraduate students (Course: Geography), two professors (Prof Rory Walsh and Prof Neil) and two postgraduate students (Miss Jossie and Miss Lazzie). This educational tour is a part of the school curriculum that is very valuable as they provide the students the opportunity of learning through travel, especially to places that they may not otherwise get to visit. The aim of the tour is to aid students to acquire basic knowledge of functioning of tropical rainforests. This tour emphasises experiential learning and offer both group and self-directed activities that enables the learners to explore the geographic range of tropical rainforest in Sabah, Borneo.
Meeting and catching up with Prof .Neil Loader and Prof Rory Walsh from Swanswe University, UK after a long interval.
2nd generation of supervision: On Left- A picture of myself with my co-supervisor doing my doctorate research a decade ago, followed by my research candidate Lela’s picture also with her co-supervisor for her doctorate!.
Lela’s journal of Adventure:
This educational tour really benefited me as the activities and projects are generally part of my PhD research project. My research is about the Water Chemistry Dynamics in Tropical Rainforest of Differing Disturbance History in Sabah, Borneo. This was an unexpected field opportunity for me as I had never done hydrological related field work before and in addition this trip it was a field visit to one of my study catchment area (Baru catchment- Primary Forest catchment) which is located at DVCA. During the trip, I assisted one undergraduate student (Morgan) to collect data for her 2-day projects titled Water Chemistry Dynamics in Segama river (main river) and small stream in DVCA which closely related to my own research. During the 2-day project,I assisted the undergraduate student to take conductivity and turbidity measurement using portable instruments. It really helped me for adaptation and field works where I learned to handle the portable instruments which she will be used in her research works.
Apart from that, it was a valuable field trip because it was an opportunity to develop my communication, competency skills as well as the ability to critically analyse the situation as she was guided by a team of professiona
ls from Swansea’s University. During the field trip, as a bonus I had the opportunity to go for night safari and sunrise. I loved and admired the beauty of nature.
I feel extremely lucky being able to experience the mass flowering event which only occurs 5 to 10 years once. I was also fortunate and super excited to observe a mummy ‘orang utan’ with its baby which is very rare to encounter in DVCA. I guess that’s what is known as beginners luck!!
During night safari, I also encountered two flying squirrel (they just jumped and glided), slow loris, civet cat and Sambar deer. During the day, there were adventurous moments when we spotted with viper (trees), red leaf monkey ( at the lab), bearded pig , monitor lizard ( nearby the dining hall) and python (in the middle of roads)
Special thanks to Prof Rory and research assistants ( En. Jamil, En. Amat, En. Deddy) for the assistance and providing the first-hand knowledge about Danum Valley Conservation Area. It was successful field visit plus educational tour.
It’s an adventure a visit to remember!!.
Sign off with joy, –Lela-