Facilitating engagements between local communities along the Segama River and stakeholders in the private and government sectors with the intention to re-frame landscape conservation questions and practices in meaningful local terms, and around expertise in oil palm, citizen science, remote sensing, water quality, fisheries, conservation-based livelihoods and others.
The Forever Segama initiative aims to provide support in the following areas:
Enhancing livelihoods with Persatuan Wanita Ulu Segama
Community enrichment planting
Working towards Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (ICCA)
Like its neighbour, the Kinabatangan, the Segama River drains a vast territory of what was Sabah’s most biodiverse rich lowland rainforest before flowing into the Coral Triangle in one of the region’s largest mangrove swamps, namely the Ramsar Site it shares with the Kinabatangan (where Neville and his team have worked for the last five years).
Also like the Kinabatangan its alluvial flood plains now support some of the largest most lucrative oil palm on the planet and remnant populations of Sabah’s mammal iconic species for whom connectivity between forest patches is now a major issue. The difference between the two rivers is also startling: unlike the Kinabatangan, two thirds of the Segama Catchment is under total protection in world renowned sites including Danum Valley, Tabin, Imbak Canyon, the Ulu Segama (with the highest orangutan populations in Sabah) yet two thirds of the actual riparian zone - so crucial for life and connectivity - is under oil palm, more than half of which is illegally planted right to the river’s edge. Only the major companies with RSPO certification have established, or are now establishing, forest riparian, and formal conservation efforts have been slow to work in the region, hence the absence of efforts to protect the kinds of riparian forest patches that have been core to interventions on the Kinabatangan.
The Segama river itself is silted, heavily polluted by oil palm, damaged by sand, gold and other mining, over-fished (and subject to fish and prawn poisoning by impoverished estate workers with pilfered agricultural chemicals), and yet is the source of domestic water, treated and untreated, for tens of thousands of people.