The tiny island of Mabul off the coast of East Sabah hosts a dense human population  with  at least a dozen resorts of all standards servicing the diving tourism industry. This is because the nearby island of Sipadan is regarded as one of the world’s top diving sites.  Sipadan itself  used to host 5 dive resorts but these were closed in 2004 to reduce waste water pollution to the surrounding reef. Sipadan itself is still covered with the original virgin forest and hosts numerous large strangling figs of two species. In contrast Mabul has no original forest and no large stranglers but still hosts 3 species of figs Ficus variegata, Ficus microcarpa and Ficus drupacea.

All photos by Shavez Cheema and Chun Xing Wong of 1StopBorneo Wildlife