The "Rain Forests and Our Environment" Exhibition

RICourtyard.jpg (17512 bytes)

Rimba Ilmu courtyard  
by night.  

(Photo: Shan)

First established in 1997,  
the Rain Forests and Our Environment exhibition was last given a major enhancement in July 2002-3, with new material incorporated within a refurbished setting.

The exhibition is the only permanent exhibition of such wide scope in Malaysia.  It is accessible to the public when the botanic garden is open. The exhibition is bilingual, with notes in both Bahasa Malaysia and English, richly illustrated and supplemented with exhibits and informative text panels. It is primarily a backdrop to the Rimba Ilmu visitor's experience. The exhibition introduces what rain forests are, where they are found, their usefulness to human society, their intense richness in plant and animal life (biodiversity), their importance in maintaining climatic balance and environmental quality, and key aspects of biodiversity and environmental conservation. 


HornbillCalanthe.jpg (20574 bytes) Hornbill and Calanthe orchid, part of a wall mural prepared by teams from two schools, S.M.K. Durian Tunggal (Melaka) and S.M.K. Pasir Panjang (Negri Sembilan), under the direction of Mr. Koh Kian Choon and En. Salleh Mohamed. 

(Photo: Malaysian Nature Society)


The average visitor will not be able to view and read all the material carefully within even two hours: a first visit gets the viewer acquainted, and the somewhat large amount of information is meant to be a reservoir for repeated consultation, especially by students.


Layout of the Exhibition

exbit1.jpg (42598 bytes) A view of the inside of the Rain Forest exhibition. 

(Photo: K M Wong)


Introductory Section

Rain forests explained as the dominant, basically evergreen vegetation in tropical areas with typically constant high temperatures and rainfall, as having tall trees, and harbouring a rich assemblage of plant and animal life. Briefly describes where the world's rain forests are found. 


bird1.jpg (12575 bytes) Kingfisher 

(Painting: Zainal Mustaffa)


Section 1: The Usefulness of Rain Forests

Reveals that although tropical rain forests are rich in timber, they are an important source of many other materials: ranging from raw materials for items of everyday and special use (including crafts and construction), food materials, and medicines, to genetic material that is fundamental to crop improvement and continuing innovative use of natural products.

Section 2A (left side):  The Extent of Rain Forests and the Different Vegetation Types in Malaysia

(Simple poster panels). 
The various types of vegetation briefly described. General statement on the importance of wetlands. 
Lighted cabinet: highlight: Diversity in tropical fruit form: special focus on dipterocarps and tropical acorns. 



Section 2B (right side): The Rich Biodiversity of the Malaysian Region and Malaysia in particular

(Posters and text panels supplemented with displays of related items).
Pulveroboletus.jpg (10038 bytes) Pulveroboletus sp., one of the many colorful mushrooms in Malaysia. 

(Photo: C.L.Chan)

Philautus sp., the Cinnamon Frog, one of many frog "mugshots" at the exhibition. 

(Photo: C.L.Chan)

Nyctixalus.jpg (16077 bytes)
Points out that about half of the world's species are found in tropical rain forests. Provides a comparative view of the biodiversity of the Malaysian region and of Malaysia in particular compared to other regions (examples from plant and animal groups), points out the factors that scientists believe have led to a very rich biodiversity in the Malaysian region. Borneo as a very rich district in our region. The key aspects of tropical rain forest biodiversity explained: endemism, rarity, abundance of 'sister-species' in an area, special diversity in habitat islands. Examples of rich and special biodiversity in Malaysia: pitcher plants, fungi, reptiles and amphibians, Rafflesia. 


exbit2.jpg (49771 bytes) The Rafflesia exhibit component. 

(Photo K M Wong)

The Rafflesia component of the "Rain Forest and Our Environment" exhibition is a top draw. 

(Photo: W.M.Poon)

Rafflesia.jpg (34046 bytes)

Section 3: Relationship between Rain Forests and the Environment

(Posters and text panels). 
How rain forests are critical in maintaining soil and nutrient conservation, the hydrological balance, climatic balance (their role in carbon sequestration and amelioration of global warming). The greenhouse effect.  Forest fires in the Indonesian-Malaysian region associated with El Niño drought episodes.  Haze from forest fires and pollution.

Section 4: The Decline of Rain Forest

(Posters and text panels). 
How the world's tropical forests are on the decline.  The consequences of reduced forest area. The necessary concept of sustainable forest management.

Section 5: Conservation

(Posters, text panels and special exhibits). 
Conservation explained as protecting pristine samples of the natural world; as an effort to minimise degradation of nature; as an effort to promote awareness among people; and as everybody's concern in their consumeristic habits.  Main emphasis is on habitat conservation, pointing out examples of special habitats of note: one (Klang Gates quartzite ridge) close to the Rimba Ilmu in Kuala Lumpur that visitors can easily appreciate, and another (Mount Kinabalu) that is the most important biological site in Asia. Types of internationally acknowledged conservation areas.  CITES and endangered species. 


MtKinabalu.jpg (41635 bytes) Learn about the majestic Mt Kinabalu, Malaysia's first World Heritage Site, at the exhibition. 

(Photo: Tengku D.Z.Adlin)

Rare Plants and natural communities are a special emphasis at the "Rain Forests and Our Environment" exhibition. 

(Photo: Tree trunks closely hugged by the climbing Nepenthes veitchii pitcher-plants, by W.M. Poon)

RarePlants.jpg (24691 bytes)
Dipterocarpus.jpg (20580 bytes) Learning about rare plants: Dipterocarpus lamellatus (Keruing jarang), once found on Labuan island, may be nearly extinct. 

(Photo: K.M. Wong)


Section 6: More examples of Rich and Fascinating Biodiversity

Lighted cabinet: posters, text panels and insect speciments: The Insect World, highlighting the fascination of Stick and Leaf Insects. 
Display of botanical line-drawings: Orchids of Borneo. 
Posters and pictures: Tropical Bird Diversity. 


Jejewoodia.jpg (19562 bytes) Jejewoodia jiewhoei, an unusual orchid from Borneo. 

(Photo: C.L.Chan)


Section 7: Rimba Ilmu and its Environmental Education Programme

Brief statement of Rimba Ilmu's functions in research, conservation and education, and notes on the Environmental Education Programme.
exbit3.jpg (36484 bytes) Another section of the exhibition. 

(Photo: K M Wong)