Rimba Ilmu's  
Millenium Forest effort
Our botanic garden has embarked upon a concentrated exercise to bring in more species of the Malaysian rain forest. This is in recognition that, as development progresses into the new millenium, there will be a great deal of reduction in lowland rain forest area everywhere in the tropics. While more intact natural areas should continue to be safeguarded from disturbance and be set aside for generations to come, gardens should also attempt to raise as many species as possible on their grounds, both for education and research, as well as for future seed sources and conservation. 

In the Rimba Ilmu Botanic Garden, we have since 2001 designated all areas above the level of pre-existing planted areas as the sprawling site for our Millenium Forest effort: this means all remaining areas above the level of the palm area and fruit-trees area, stretching from the main entrance around the north side to the service gate. The total area is about 30 hectares. 

The Millenium Forest effort includes both gathering seed and establishing as big as possible a diversity of plants to add to our holdings, as well as developing a special forest-arboretum around the core area of the Rimba Ilmu. 

For OPPORTUNITIES and PARTNERSHIPS IN SUPPORTING THIS PROJECT AND THE NEXT 
write to the Coordinator of the Rimba Ilmu Botanic Garden.  
 

The Kingham Arboretum
Impetus for beginning the Millenium Forest effort started with the development of the Kingham Arboretum, an area of about 12 hectares stretching from just behind the main entrance to the Garden, around the northern side, through to the Activity Centre. In time, the Kingham Arboretum will be separated from the other planted areas, including the existing Palm area, by a footpath to be called the Botanist's Trail, which will traverse the middle contours of the northern and north-eastern parts of the Rimba Ilmu. 

This site was still occupied by remnant rubber-tree plantings from the old days of the botanic garden, which have not yet been specially developed. Some parts have aleady become secondary forest, with other tree species spontaneously generating within the rubber-tree matrix.  

 

(Above) Establishment stage of the new Kingham Arboretum, where thinnings within the rubber-tree/secondary forest-tree matrix allowed for inplanting of newly raised rain forest species. 

In establishing the Kingham Arboretum, planting space was carefully chosen or prepared by thinning out old rubber-trees or other common secondary forest trees in order to "inplant" specially raised trees for the Arboretum. It was essential to ensure that sufficient tree cover was present in order that the newly planted forest species could grow within a conducive environment and be generally "trained" to grow tall within the selectively maintained tree matrix. 

The tree species are indigenous to Malaysia and come from an extensive range of species provided by Mr James Kingham in a unique gesture to the University of Malaya. By mid-2002, close to 2000 rain forest trees have been planted in the Kingham Arboretum and other sites within the Rimba Ilmu. Most of the species are represented by at least five individuals and some by scores, thus securing better possibilities for breeding. This intensive planting development will be an on-going feature through at least another five years before key sites are filled up. 
 

(Above) Trees arriving for planting out in the new Kingham Arboretum.


(Above) Off with a newly arrived tree to the Kingham Arboretum!