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With a total area of about 30,000 hectares, Imbak Canyon Conservation Area encompasses two ridge-top Virgin Jungle Reserves plus the Canyon itself and makes a significant contribution to the coverage of protected areas in the centre of Sabah.

The Canyon is a Class II Commercial Forest Reserve, part of the one million hectare Yayasan Sabah Forest Management Area. In 2003, Yayasan Sabah voluntarily designated Imbak Canyon as a Conservation Area for the purposes of research, education and training, similar to Maliau Basin and Danum Valley Conservation Areas. Only two expeditions have so far been carried out in the area, one in 2000 organised by Sabah Forestry Department and located at the mouth of the Canyon, and the second in 2004, organized by Yayasan Sabah and focusing on the centre of the Canyon.

Spectacular view of the Canyon from the heath forest

Early morning mist bathing Imbak Canyon

Why is Imbak Canyon Conservation Area Important?

• It is one of the last remaining substantial areas of unlogged lowland dipterocarp forest in Sabah.

• It is the origin of the Imbak River, one of the headwaters of the Kinabatangan, Sabah’s most important waterway. Conservation of a unique and rare area like the Imbak Canyon upstream has significant co-relation to programmes such as the World Wide Fund For Nature Malaysia’s 27,000 hectares “Gift to The Earth” Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary downstream, which was pledged by the State Government in September 1999.

• It plays an important role as a wildlife corridor connecting Danum Valley Conservation Area and Maliau Basin Conservation Area for major mammals like Bornean Pygmy Elephant, Sumatran Rhino, Orang-utan, Tembadau, Bearded Pig and Clouded Leopard.

• It plays a crucial role as a seed source or gene bank for facilitating forest rehabilitation and restoration.

• Its geographical position and its pristine state make it an ideal site for research into the non-destructive use of undisturbed forest, including carbon sequestration and bio-prospecting, as well as of non-timber forest products and water catchment management studies.

The 30m-wide Imbak Falls