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  • Writer's pictureMarx Yim

Kuamut Rainforest Conservation Project Biodiversity Data Management and Analysis Workshop

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

Training in the forest with the KRCP team. Photo 2023 Marx Yim

In collaboration with the Southeast Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP), the Tropical Ecology & Entomology (TEE) Lab of the Asian School of the Environment (ASE), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) participated in the Kuamut Rainforest Conservation Project (KRCP) Biodiversity Data Management and Analysis Workshop organised by Permian Global at Danum Valley Field Center (DVFC), Sabah. Also present was the team from Rakyat Berjaya Sdn. Bhd. (RBJ) who manage the Kuamut Forest Reserve, and research assistants from SEARRP. The Kuamut Rainforest Conservation Project (KRCP) aims to set up a Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) project involving 80,000 hectares of tropical forests within the Kuamut Forest Reserve. Among its top priorities is biodiversity conservation, of which biodiversity monitoring is key.

The KRCP team and participants. Photo 2023 Sunarto

Held between the 14-19th January 2023, the goal of this workshop was to ensure that the KRCP generates well-managed, high-quality, and accurate biodiversity data from field monitoring activities and produces outputs and analyses needed for future monitoring reports. The workshop covered biodiversity monitoring activities such as camera trapping, acoustic monitoring, the Forest Integrity Assessment (FIA) tool, and dung-beetle sampling.

During the first portion of the training, the team underwent several rigorous in-class trainings conducted by Dr Sunarto (Permian Global), Mr Febri Widodo (WWF Indonesia), Ms Sui Peng Heon (SEARPP), and Dr Eleanor Slade, Dr Chiew Li Yuen and Mr Marx Yim (TEE Lab - NTU). In those sessions, the team were briefed about the overview of KRCP and dived in-depth into each individual biodiversity monitoring activity.

The team was then brought into the forest where they learned more about how the data is captured in the field. From setting up camera traps, acoustic monitors, ground pitfall traps and canopy traps for dung beetles and using the FIA tool, to learning about the limitations and problems of each method, and discussing solutions, the team had meaningful knowledge exchanges to hone their skills in biodiversity monitoring activities.

Following that, the team was then split up into focus groups where they learned how to process the data they captured using various methods. They learned how to use statistical tools such as Camera Sweet, which can analyse camera trap data, and Audacity which is used for acoustic data processing. The team also had the chance to learn how to sort and identify dung beetles using a new guide and key developed by the TEE Lab as part of our Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) project which aims to mobilise data on ecologically important insects in Sabah and Singapore. During the session, we found several species which are indicators of good quality forest.

To wrap up the successful workshop, we had a barbeque and karaoke (of course!) and then some of the team set out on a trek to the world’s tallest tropical tree, a Shorea faguetiana, named Menara, which is an impressive 100.8m high! We ended the day with a cooling swim in Segama river, admiring the breathtaking beauty of the forest while drifting slowly downstream.

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