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Brunei Rainforest Project 1991-1992

A 14-month expedition to survey the undisturbed lowland primary rainforests of the Batu Apoi Forest Reserve, Temburong District, Brunei Darussalam; to explore the complex ecology of the environment and to develop the base-line research and teaching facilities for the new field centre.

Joint project between the University of Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) to establish a permanent field studies centre for rainforest research. The Royal Geographical Society was invited by the Universiti Brunei Darussalam to assist in the establishment of a permanent field studies centre and, through the running of a 14-month expedition, to provide base information about the area and to prepare the centre for its long-term use by schools and students as well as future research scientists.

The chosen site for the field centre is located just inside the border of the 48,000 hectare Batu Apoi Forest Reserve of Temburong District, situated on the Sungai Belalong close to its confluence with Sungai Temburong. The expedition research area covered approximately one fifth of the reserve and comprised largely pristine dipterocarp lowland forest, with Bukit Belalong at 2995ft being the highest point. The terrain is steep and deeply dissected by tributaries of the major rivers. There is no permanent settlement, apart from the field centre, within the reserve, although people from the local area have traditionally used the area for hunting and fishing.

With a large proportion of Borneo's tropical forests being decimated for the timber trade by Brunei's geographical neighbours, this conservation initiative was seen to be particularly important and in recognition, on World Forestry Day in March 1991, the Forestry Department in Brunei declared that the Batu Apoi Forest Reserve would be raised in status to that of a National Park, which has further ensured its long-term protection.

A committee was set up to direct the scientific programme of the project and to ensure that a broad spectrum of interests was represented. Over 90 scientists and field assistants participated in the expedition, spending varying lengths of time in the field and covering an assortment of botanical, zoological and geomorphological studies, all contributing to the background information about the research area being gathered to form a database for future visitors to build upon.

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Documents
· RGS Brunei project bibliography PDF

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