About The Event
Universiti Brunei Darussalam under its iCUBE recently had organised a scientific expedition to Bukit Teraja from 7th July to 10th July 2019. It involved a total of 45 people; consisting of 26 researchers, five Brunei Forestry Department staff from the Brunei National Herbarium (BRUN), one photographer, seven support staff and six Royal Brunei Police Force Rangers. The eight foreign researchers were representatives of iCUBE member universities (Korea University and National University of Singapore) as well as other invited researchers from University of the Sunshine Coast, Palacky University, Ehime University and SMART. UBD was represented by nine researchers. The main aim of the expedition is to gather baseline data on flora, fauna, geology, climate and hydrology of the Bukit Teraja Protection Forest and its surrounding areas.
The Bukit Teraja expedition basecamp was set up at Wasai Wong Kadir Recreational Park at Labi (4°20’33.1″N 114°26’48.6″E).
The research projects conducted by all participants during the expedition were as follows:
Schedule for the iCUBE Bukit Teraja Expedition
On 7th July 2019 the launching ceremony was held at basecamp in the afternoon, located at Wasai Wong Kadir Recreational Park. It was officiated by the guest of honour, Yang Berhormat Awang Hanapi bin Mohd. Siput, the Village Head of Kampung Labi I.
After the launching ceremony, a safety briefing was given by Inspector Khairul from the Royal Brunei Police Force, followed by an expedition briefing by the Expedition leader, Dr. Rahayu Sukri. At 3 pm, participants left the basecamp for a short recce to the expedition area with their respective groups. Each group was accompanied by one BRUN staff, two police rangers and three first aiders. Throughout the expedition, participants were divided into small groups according to similar research interests. All participants departed from basecamp at 5 pm.
For 8th July and 9th July 2019, breakfast and packed lunch were delivered to all participants in the morning before departing for the expedition trip. The transportation departed at 9 am to basecamp and arrived an hour later. The expedition started right away with each group leaving with one BRUN staff, two police rangers and three first aiders. All participants were informed to return to basecamp by 4.30 pm. After an hour, all participants reached accommodation and had a short break before having dinner at Ayamku seafood restaurant. Afterwards, debriefing sessions by the participants were held at the Tropical Biodiversity Centre (TBC). Each group was represented by one participant and he/she shared their findings during the expedition earlier that day. Some also shared on their focus area and the expected outcome of the expedition. After the short session, all participants worked on their samples in the laboratory. All participants went back to accommodation after working on their samples.
On the last day, all participants had a final sharing session in the morning at the Tropical Biodiversity Centre (TBC) where each representative took turn in sharing their finding and experiences during the expedition. Photos as well as videos taken by participants during the expedition were shared with the organizing committee.
Preliminary outcomes from the iCUBE Bukit Teraja Expedition
During the expedition, researchers have discovered and identified numerous plant and animal species. Among the fauna that were documented include 32 species of birds from visual and audio recordings and an estimated total of 11 mosquitoes species from 6 genera. The flora documented during the expedition included 4 species of Pinanga understory palms, 8 species of mycoheterotropic plants and 27 plant species under 9 different families: Zingiberaceae, Orchidaceae, Primulaceae, Araceae, Arecaceae, Asparagaceae, Hypoxidaceae, Menispermaceae and Schizaeaceae. Other species such as Dryobalanops and Shorea were also discovered at different trails along the ridge at Bukit Teraja.
From nine 20 x 20 m plots established within the mixed dipterocarp forest at Bukit Teraja, a total of 261 trees were sampled by researchers from UBD and KU. The average diameter at breast height (dbh) is 28.11 cm with an average basal area of 4.81 cm2. A total of 30 families, 51 genus and 123 species of trees were identified. Several tree species that were identified in the plots are Parishia (Anacardiceae), Dipterocarpus (Dipterocarpaceae), Shorea (Dipterocarpaceae), Artocarpus (Euphorbiaceae), Ixonanthes (Ixonanthaceae), Gentiana (Gentianeae) and Adinandra (Pentaphylacaceae). Another team recorded 19956 trees ha-1 and 52.12 Mg ha-1 above groung biomass (AGB) of small trees (DBH <10cm) in Bukit Teraja. AGB value of small trees in Bukit Teraja was found larger than AGB in Andulau, Badas and Bukit Sawat.
Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) would like to thank the Brunei Forestry Department, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism for permits to work in Bukit Teraja (REF: /JPH/UND/17 PT. 7) for provision of facilities at the Sungai Liang Tropical Biodiversity Centre, and for export permits. We thank the Brunei National Herbarium for field assistance and logistics support, the Royal Brunei Police Force for police escorts and the Ministry of Health for paramedics. Funding for the iCUBE Bukit Teraja Expedition was provided by UBD via the iCUBE Initiative.
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