Carried out from August 2009 to December 2012, this project, titled Participatory Approaches to Nominating the Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve was developed as a response to a request from the Buayan-Kionop community for assistance in strengthening community institutions and building grassroots capacity so they can meaningfully engage in the conservation agenda of Sabah Parks and related government agencies. This includes the nomination of the Crocker Range as a Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme. Community input into this nomination consolidates the efforts of Sabah Parks and local communities to work together to create community use zones and buffer and transitional zones, harmonising their aspirations for the use and management of their customary lands in Ulu Papar.

Local communities and Sabah conservation agencies engaged in a combination of training, participatory action research and community-based conservation education activities. Key results are as follows:

BCP group discussion during 1st workshop

A consolidated group of Ulu Papar Community Researchers was formed. Active in community-based conservation of Ulu Papar and the Buayan-Kionop CUZ, this team emphasised  consensus building and community organising, structured within the context of developing the Ulu Papar Biocultural Community Protocol and coordinating the Ulu Papar Congress.

Buayan-Kionop P3DM

New knowledge on livelihood activities in communities living in Ulu Papar was obtained through field data collection to create community profiles and as input for a community-based zoning plan. This was used to generate GIS maps and participatory 3D models of the Buayan-Kionop area and Ulu Papar to display livelihood patterns and resource use of each community.

UP Roadshow group in Longkogungan

Raised awareness on Biosphere Reserves, ICCAs and other aspects of community conservation among communities living in Ulu Papar and governmental institutions in Sabah was achieved through the design and implementation of the Ulu Papar Community & Conservation Campaign by community researchers. Activities, designed to highlight Ulu Papar as an important biocultural heritage site for Sabah, included three editions of the Ulu Papar Roadshow, the Ulu Papar Congress, outreach sessions to government and non-government agencies and the inclusion of Ulu Papar in the Borneo Eco Film Festival.

A plan for a Community Biocultural Resource Centre was developed as an operational hub and community outreach centre in Buayan village, along with a draft protocol for its use and management. Upgrading work was also undertaken to increase capacity of existing community facilities used during outreach activities. This occurred alongside efforts to create fresh partnerships to establish new prospects for the development of a centre.

The Biocultural Diversity and Conservation training course was successfully completed, with three in-person seminars conducted. Community researchers received additional training in advanced participatory mapping methods to strengthen data compilation and communication.


Project Donor

Darwin Initiative UK


Project Partners

Sabah Parks

Buayan-Kionop community

Sabah Biodiversity Centre (SaBC) as part of the Bornean Biodiversity and Ecosystems Conservation Phase II (BBEC II) Programme