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A view from above

Maliau Basin - Where is it?

South East Asia. Illustration By Y. Ahmad

Malaysia Map

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Maliau Basin Conservation Area is situated just above the Equator in south central Sabah, the northernmost of the two East Malaysian states on the island of Borneo.

Maliau Basin Conservation Area is adjacent to the Yayasan Sabah Forest Management Area, about 190 km from the town of Tawau (on the southeast coast) and some 40 km north of the Kalimantan (Indonesian) border, at between 116° 44’ - 117° 3’ E and 4° 41’ - 4° 56’ N.



Geographical Features

Sabah Map. The 588.4 km² (58,840 hectares) Maliau Basin Conservation Area encompasses the whole of Maliau Basin itself (390 km²), plus an additional 198.4 km² of forested land to the east and north of the rim, including the fabled Lake Linumunsut, formed by a landslide blocking a small tributary of the Pinangah River.

While this entire region is rugged, the saucer-shaped Maliau Basin is distinguished by its almost circular perimeter, sharply delimited on all sides by cliffs or very steep slopes, making it insurmountable on foot from most directions. The highest point is on the north rim, at over 1,675 m in elevation, but has yet to be accurately surveyed. Resembling a volcanic caldera, the 25 km diameter Basin is in fact a sedimentary formation comprised mainly of gently inclined beds of sandstone and mudstone.

The Basin represents a single catchment, and is drained by a set of radiating tributaries of the Maliau River, one of which descends a magnificent series of waterfalls, known as Maliau Falls. Numerous smaller waterfalls have also been discovered throughout the Basin. The Maliau River then drains through a gorge out of the southeast of the Basin into the Kuamut River, which in turn feeds into the Kinabatangan, the longest river in Sabah.

Satellite Image of Maliau BasinSatellite Picture Of Maliau Basin

Remotely sensed data captured by the Landsat Satellite (image size approximately 36km x 36km).

Yellow outside Maliau Basin Conservation Area (MBCA) representing disturbed vegetation, while light (fresh) green inside MBCA refers to closed-canopy dipterocarp forest cover.
Reddish blue indicates heath forest.

Dark green on the south-eastern side represents reduced impact logging (RIL) forest.

Logging roads are visible as turquoise lines and dark blue lines for Maliau River and its tributaries.