Deramakot Forest Reserve  is a model FMU (Forestry Management Unit)  run by the Sabah Forest Department as an example for the other 136 FMU’s in Sabah as  to how logging can be carried out in a long term sustainable manner. The aim is to educate the management of other Sabah  FMUs so that   all the timber produced in Sabah can be certified  as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

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Deramakot FMU is approximately 3 hours drive from Sandakan. When we visited in October 2014  the HQ offices building was still under construction
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We found a young strangler growing low down on an Albizzia  tree  at the bottom of the slope above the lake.

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The leaves indicate that this fig is Ficus drupacea. In Borneo Ficus drupacea is most common in secondary forest and  coastal urban areas such as Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Bandar Seri Begawan.  It is very unusual to find F. drupacea growing in the middle of lowland rain forest.
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Most of the staff at Deramakot are regular visitors to Sabah Forest Department offices at Sepilok where Ficus drupacea is very common growing around the Sepilok resort area. Most likely someone brought this sapling from Sepilok and planted it on the Albizzia tree at Deramakot. IMPORTANT NOTE: In general it is a very bad idea to plant figs outside their natural range because  there will be no resident fig wasps to pollinate the fig flowers and the resulting figs will be sterile and unattractive to wildlife.

 

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An example of Ficus drupacea leaves collected from a fig tree at Sepilok.
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A recently opened logging road along a ridge top at Deramakot
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Deramakot is divided into 135 compartments which are logged on a 30+ year cycle which results in a very wide range of  continually changing habitats.
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The forest on the hill slope at the rear has never been logged (too steep). The forest in the  foreground was logged around 10 years ago and will be re-logged again in around 20 years. Notice the trees in the foreground are  covered in lianas as a result of the  destruction of the canopy during logging. Although FSC guidelines allow liana cutting or removal,  fig trees and fig lianas  at Deramakot are always left intact. This is the main reason that Deramakot is one of the best sites in Borneo to see  wildlife such as Clouded Leopards.
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Although Clouded Leopards do not feed on figs they feed on many animals which eat figs including mouse deer, gibbons,  macaques, wild pigs and binturongs. Photo by Mike Gordon  taken at Deramakot.

Clouded Leopard videos  from Deramakot by Mike Gordon 

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