Tallest Tropical Trees in Sabah


Image credit: David Hogan Jr.

The Danum Valley Conservation Area houses Sabah’s towering yellow meranti tree, standing tall at more than 100.6 metres. Discover the other exciting ecotourism opportunities in this region.

A team led by the University of Nottingham and Oxford, together with the South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership, were astonished to discover the tallest tropical tree, and the world’s tallest known tropical flowering plant, growing in the dense rainforest of Sabah. The tree stands at an impressive height of more than 330 feet. It is believed that if the tree were to be uprooted and laid on the ground, its length would definitely surpass that of a football field.

Located southeast of Kota Kinabalu International Airport, the Danum Valley Conservation Area (DVCA) is a vast protected land that stretches about 43,000 hectares. it is guarded by the authorities to protect the numerous native wildlife species that inhabit the area. Bornean orangutans, gibbons, mouse deer, clouded leopards, Bornean pygmy elephants and over 339 bird species are found throughout the forest. Managed by Yayasan Sabah, Danum Valley Field Centre (DVFC) is a research establishment with several conservation practices such as research and habitat restoration works.

The primary attraction of these forests is undoubtedly the highly endangered yellow meranti tree, which grows to a record-breaking height and is home to many microorganisms and other wildlife species.

Conservation efforts by researchers have been successful at protecting these trees, and the biodiversity that surrounds them.

This conservation area is both a recreational and educational hotspot for tourists. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, including guided jungle treks, river swimming, bird watching and night jungle tours.

The most exciting part of DVCA is the suspension bridge, which hangs from tree to tree at a height of over 26.8 metres. The 169.8 metre-long canopy walkway has a view of the lush green Sabah landscape. From hanging bridges, visitors can also witness the exotic wildlife that flourishes in this protected area of rainforest, including several species of colourful tropical birds.

This article is from Asian Geographic Magazine Issue 6/2021, which can be purchased here.

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