Location and Values: Kinabalu Park is located in the Malaysian state of Sabah on the island of Borneo. It is the highest mountain in Southeast Asia (4,095m), a granitic intrusion arising from tectonic movements in the Earth’s crust. Despite its small size, the park supports an exceptional diversity of habitats and species, reflecting the wide range of altitude (152 – 4,096m) and its tropical location. Plant communities are characteristic of particular altitudinal zones with species-rich lowland rainforest merging into montane and hill forest at higher elevations, with sub-alpine forest and scrub vegetation towards the summit of the mountain. An estimated 5-6,000 higher plant species, including 1,000 species of orchids, occur in the park, together with the majority of Borneo’s mammals, birds and other animals. Kinabalu is recognized as a globally important Centre of Plant Endemism, and provides sanctuary for many rare and endangered species.
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2017) the conservation status of Kinabalu Park is ‘good, with some concerns’. The IUCN report identifies a need for the introduction of a formal programme to monitor the status of the park’s biodiversity values, as well as increasing investment in community education activities to ensure local support for the long-term maintenance of these values. It also notes that an increase in the number of visitors requires greater management effort to mitigate tourism impacts and avoid degradation of the park environment. Further improvements in site interpretation would enhance the quality of visitors’ experience.
UNESCO Official Website
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description