• 2013
  • Sarawak field campaign

After over three months’ of fieldwork in some of the best preserved forests of North-West Borneo, Sarawak field campaign was concluded in August 2013. Funded by T-FORCES (European Research Council grant), Lainie and her team re-censused approx. 17 ha of long-term plots, including four plots in Bako National Park, six plots in Lambir Hills National Park, and four plots in Gunung Mulu National Park. These plots are a rich heritage tracing back to the pioneer work established by Prof. Peter Ashton in the 1960s (Bako and Lambir) and the late Prof. John Proctor in 1979 (Mulu), and had since been re-censused diligently every ~5 years till 2000, by the devoted researchers and field assistants from Forest Department Sarawak. The present campaign marked a good start for a systematic recensus of SE Asia’s long-term forest plots. Lainie’s team experienced numerous memorable moments: living and eating in a traditional Iban longhouse where the everyday needs are ever so dependent on the surrounding forest, witnessing the recently logged plots near the same Iban community where long-term benefits had sadly been traded for short-term gains, struggling to investigate each missing/dead tree while navigating through dense rattans on a rugged, steep slope of Mulu’s limestone plot, relocating another Mulu plot after a long and hard search through a dark, humid alluvial forest… and finally, one of the field assistants turning out fine after being bitten by a Sabah pit viper (Popeia sabahi) by accident while measuring trees! Lainie wishes to express great gratitude towards her Sarawak collaborator Kho Lip Khoon, the Forest Department Sarawak, the wonderful, tireless field team, Xyxtus Tan, Jaapar bin Sahak, Nasir bin Muhi, Mahlel bin Hamjah, & Stewart Saging, Iban botanist Jugah anak Tagi, and those who provided timely help during the snake bite incidence, namely Gunung Mulu National Park manager Brian Clark, Kelvin Egay, and Indraneil Das.