COMMUNITY ABAI PROJECT: FOREST RESTORATION AND ECOTOURISM
Community Abai Project (CAP): The Forest Restoration & Ecotourism is a community-based project will be implemented by the local community of Abai village along the lower Kinabatangan River in Sabah, Malaysia. The project is needed to restore degraded forests and increase habitat connectivity along the lower Kinabatangan River. This will contribute to the long-term survival of endangered species including Bornean orang utans, Bornean pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, Storm’s storks and other wildlife. The project is also needed to establish a sustainable, conservation-based economy in order to restore Abai’s
fragile economy and generate job opportunities for youth. This is expected to abate
outward migration from the village and ensure the community’s long-term survival on
its land. CAP’s main objective is to restore degraded forest areas of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary (LKWS) and increase habitat connectivity.
Other objectives include,
1. 2. Harness and build capacity among the people of Abai through trainings, exposure visits and their implementation of community-based restoration and ecotourism.
2. Shift to sustainable development through ecotourism including homestays, wildlife guiding, and cultural activities.
3. Enable the community of Abai to preserve its cultural heritage and continue its stewardship and protection of the forest.
4. Increase collaboration between Kampung Abai, the Sabah Forestry Department, the Sabah Wildlife Department, other government agencies and international funders.
CAP and other community members will be engaged in the following activities:
1. Capacity building in wildlife guiding, honorary wildlife wardenships, managing volunteer groups, and English.
2. Construct a permanent tree nursery and germinate seedlings. CAP seeks to build
on the previous WWF project Komuniti Anak Pokok Kinabatangan (KAPOK) by
utilizing the villagers’ nursery expertise and sourcing seedlings from the KAPOK
nurseries. However in the long term CAP would like to establish an additional
large permanent nursery in order to increase the production of seedlings and
obtain seedlings at a lower cost.
3. Prepare, restore and maintain multiple degraded habitat areas in the Lower
Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.
4. Renovate five homestays with an ultimate target of ten homestays for
registration under the Federal Ministry of Tourism.
5. Renovate and set up one CAP office.
6. Build wildlife-guiding trails and increase the number of cultural performances,
wildlife guiding trips and volunteer groups at Kampung Abai.
1. Capacity building: 6 community members will renew their wildlife nature guide
licenses through a 21 day course; 16 villagers will participate in a 5 day honorary
wildlife warden course to support the Sabah Wildlife Department; 2 CAP
members will undergo training by MESCOT in managing volunteer groups; 12 to
16 villagers will continue to participate in English courses that are held for two
to six weeks by voluntary teachers who arrive in the village.
2. Establish one permanent tree nursery with a capacity of 40,000 seedlings.
3. Restore several restoration parcels totaling 10 hectares using innovative
techniques for floodplain forests. Together these sites will increase connectivity
of two riparian forest corridors (in Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary Lots
1 and 2) totalling 260 ha.
4. Renovate five homestays including bathrooms and bedrooms.
5. Renovate a CAP office including structural renovations, wiring and computers.
6. Establish ecotourism activities including wildlife guiding, cultural immersion
activities and performances, and hosting international volunteer groups.