Forests – Restoring Connectivity

Protecting, restoring and re-connecting Sabah’s rainforests


Sabah is home to some of the highest biodiversity and highest carbon forests in the world; despite extensive deforestation over the last fifty years, the potential remains for important work particularly in the Heart of Borneo.  Our Forests work seeks to improve the resilience and sustainability of Sabah’s forested landscapes through a focus on four key areas: (1) avoiding deforestation, (2) forest restoration, (3) re-establishing forest connectivity and (4) further expanding Sabah’s network of fully protected forests.

These goals are reached both through stand-alone projects and through collaborations across Forever Sabah’s other programmes (especially Watersheds and Communities, Freshwater for Future, Lower Kinabatangan and Segama Wetlands, and Certified Sustainable Palm Oil).

Completed programme activities have included:


  • A collaboration with the Carnegie Airborne Observatory to use lidar to map Sabah’s forest carbon

  • A collaboration with the Sabah Forest Department and other Forever Sabah teams to map components of Sabah’s High Conservation Value forests statewide

  • Transition program designs for two of Sabah’s most important logging concessions towards carbon sequestration and conservation economies (awaiting policy decisions/funding)

  • Assessing the carbon sequestration value of Sabah’s pilot Payment for Ecosystems Services (PES) landscape, the Babagon Watershed, which supplies 57% of the state capital’s water supply 

  • Support to the Sabah Forestry Department to advance inclusion of forest wildlife biodiversity in their planning and management

 Current forest-related activities with Forever Sabah programme and project partners include:


  • Assessing biodiversity values in riparian forest in the Segama Catchment and the potential for conservation, restoration and connectivity (with the Department of Irrigation and Drainage)

  • Programs to secure, restore and connect forest patches on village lands with Orangutan and Gibbon populations in five indigenous communities in central and eastern Sabah 

  • Prototyping restoration of areas illegally opened for palm oil by indigenous smallholders in Sabah’s Forest Reserves in ways that provide conservation-based livelihoods

  • Communicating the biodiversity and forest ecosystem integrity threats of the Pan Borneo Highway and other major infrastructure projects in Sabah in both mangrove and inland areas 

  • A collaboration with the Tropical Forest Alliance (2020) and the Sabah State Government to integrate the jurisdictional sustainable palm oil initiative with the commitment to maintaining 50% of the state under forest cover