Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre
UBD established the Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre in 1990. Before its establishment, the area was under protection as a forest reserve managed by the Department of Forestry under the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism. This forest reserve, which covers an area of approximately 46, 210 hectare, is now a national park. KBFSC sits within the research and education zone of the Park that includes the whole watershed of the Belalong River.
The Centre’s establishment was marked by a scientific expedition jointly organized with the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) of London. It was conducted for 15 months and was participated by seventy-four research scientists of various specializations. The expedition led to the discovery of some species new to science and newly recorded for Brunei.
KBFSC now served as a key research, teaching and training site for international research community and universities. It is used for various environmental awareness programs that include the school environmental education program runs by IBER for secondary schools once every fortnight.
KBFSC sits on the west bank of the Belalong River at 50 metres above sea level. It is surrounded by forest type known as mixed dipterocarp forest (MDF) which represent approximately 41% of all forest in the country. This forest type is dominated by trees that belong to the tree family Dipterocarpaceae and is considered to be one of the most timber productive forests in the world. Further south, a small patch of montane forest is found at Gunung Pagon at elevation 1280 metres above sea level which is also the highest altitude in the country.
Animal life in the forest is rich but are well camouflaged among the tree’s foliage. A total of 199 species of birds were recorded in Belalong up to the end of the rainforest expedition in 1992. Most spectacular are the hornbills; seven species are present. Mammal community include Bornean endemics Hylobates muelleri and Presbytis hosei and ground-dwelling like the common mousedeer (Tragulus spp.), barking deer, bearded pig (Sus barbatus) and pangolin (Manis javanica).
- We have four single and two twin-bed en-suite rooms available for long-term researchers in the RETAK building. The unit has a laundry and a kitchen facility.
- Our two-storey dormitory block, LESONG, can sleep up to thirty-six visitors; each level has eight bunk beds and two single beds, toilets, showers, and a laundry facility.
- A central kitchen serves meals freshly cooked by the kitchen staff from ingredients that are transported upriver two to three times weekly from town to ensure freshness. Bread, eggs, and cereals are served during breakfast, but typical Malay style dishes are offered during lunch and dinner. Visitors with any particular food requirement could indicate this when filling in the reservation form.
- A laboratory building that is equipped with necessary laboratory equipment such as a drying oven, balances, and microscope in addition to lab benches, storage cabinets, and a refrigerator.
- Two well-marked forest trails: Jalan Tengah (approximately 13 km) that leads to Bukit Belalong on the east ridge and the Ashton Trail (2.6 km) on the west ridge.
- Power supply from diesel generators; this is provided daily from 6:00 am to 8:00 am and from 4:30 pm to 11:00 pm. The boardwalk that connects all the buildings is lit with solar energy stored in battery banks for the after hours.
- VHF portable radios and satellite phones to maintain communication with those working in the field.
The trip from Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB) to the KBFSC requires approximately two and a half hours to four hours depending on the state of the river.
The journey covers:
- Transfer from BSB to Batang Duri transfer is on land by car, van or bus (1.5 – 2 hours).
- From Batang Duri to the KBFSC using `temuai’ (wooden long boat) that has to be pre-arranged in advance. (30 minutes to 3 hours).
Boat trips to the Centre is scheduled every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
For visits and further information: email@example.com