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Malaysia's Gunung Mulu Caves and National Park

The Sarawak Government has provided strong support for appropriate and sustainable development of the Gunung Mulu National Park since its WHS inscription. It has left behind its original ‘modern progress’ model of development – forestry and oil palm plantations, with the former now banned for the past ten years and the latter carefully regulated. Illegal logging still occurs in the most isolated parts of the state along the border with Indonesia’s province of Kalimantan where monitoring is difficult (no roads, only two airstrips for small aircraft) but it is minor. Offshore oil remains a mainstay of the state economy, but terrestrially ecotourism is being pursued as the mainstream path especially for poverty alleviation of local communities. Mulu is evidence that the Government is sincere in implementing ‘genuine’ ecotourism as distinct from ‘eco-lite’ ventures, and flying into Mulu over thousands of hectares of oil palm plantations to the heavily forested ranges of Gunung Mulu provides a graphic illustration of the value of conservation and protection. Indeed, the sinkhole approach through old growth rainforest to one of the caves is aptly named “The Garden of Eden".

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