Imbak Canyon, located right in the heart of Sabah, has been gazetted by the State Government as a First Class Forest Reserve to further preserve the biodiversity in its flora and fauna. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who announced this, said the decision was made during the State Cabinet meeting yesterday, as the 30,000-hectare Canyon is a ‘vital component in the biodiversity corridor linking Maliau Basin to the south and Danum Valley in the east’. Imbak Canyon is rich in medicinal plants as well as being important as a potential botanical gene bank for forest rehabilitation. The Canyon, one of the last remaining substantial areas of unlogged lowland dipterocarp forest in Sabah, is part of the one million hectares Yayasan Sabah Forest Management Area. In 2003, Yayasan Sabah voluntarily designated Imbak Canyon as a Conservation Area for the purpose of research, education and training; similar to Maliau Basin and Danum Valley Conservation Areas. Imbak Canyon also plays an important role as a wildlife corridor connecting Danum Valley Conservation Area and Maliau Basin Conservation Area for major mammals like Bornean Pygmy Elephant, Sumatran Rhino, Orang Utan, Tembadau, Bearded Pig and Clouded Leopard. Its geographical position and pristine state make it an ideal site for research into the non-destructive use of undisturbed forest, including carbon sequestration and bioprospecting, as well as non-timber forest products and water catchment management studies. The Canyon is situated over 300 kilometers south east of Kota Kinabalu, and the land journey to the site would include about four hours’ drive along a sealed road from the State Capital to Telupid and another two hours along an unsealed road from Telupid to the Base Camp just outside the Conservation Area.