Securing the Threatened Tree Giants in Borneo

As part of Botanic Garden Conservation International, UBD Botanical Research Centre was entitled a National Geographic Society grant to which a project entitled “Securing the Threatened Tree Giants in Borneo” was funded in collaboration with other botanic garden in Asia including Bogor Botanic Garden (Indonesia) and Tropical Rainforest Conservation and Research Centre (Malaysia). This project is part of The Global Trees Campaign aim to improve knowledge and status of 15 endangered and endemic Dipterocarp tree species under this project to ensure their inclusion in reforestation programs (including in-situ and ex-situ conservation).

UBD Botanical Research Centre focuses on 7 endangered and endemic Dipterocarp species such as the Shorea superba, Parashorea malaanonan and Anisoptera reticulata by collecting seeds, seedlings and saplings for ex-situ conservation at the garden. Data collected through location survey  may also help in improving the IUCN Red List conservation assessments for these targeted species. It is also aimed that, through this project, we can create or develop material and carry out training especially for local conservationists on propagation and plantation of these Dipterocarp species.

Since September last year, at least 173 seedlings and saplings have been collected and undergoing ex-situ conservation at the UBD BRC garden. Among the difficulties include locating these endangered species in the forest. This is mainly due to lack of reference specimens collected at Brunei National Herbarium (BRUN) and lack information on their locality with most of the species are found much deeper in the forest. In ex-situ environment, many of the species have lower survival rate during acclimatization under the nursery. Therefore, more field visit is expected this year to increase collection and hence overcome the challenge of keeping these plants alive in ex-situ environment.

Text & photos by: UBD BRC