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The volcanic plateau is home to a diverse range of species, many of them endemic to it's elevated situation. Our focus is on vegetation and mammal diversity surveys in relation to records collected 64 years ago. We conducted rapid assessment camera trap surveys in the Julan Waterfall region and replicated plot sampling to assess forest composition, thus creating basic species lists. Through these simple yet repeatable methods of study we hope to facilitate further conservation interest in the area, as well as encouraging student-led research.


Working with local partners is a key focus of the expedition. In the past, many expeditions have entered fragile ecosystems and left without much positive impact on local communities or cooperation with resident researchers. We are working with students from the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, in the hope of establishing a strong link between their University and our own. On return from the plateau we spoke for the Malaysian Nature Society and Friends of Sarawak Museum, who assisted us in our efforts. We also partnered with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and will be producing our results in the New Year.


In 1955 Guy Arnold, Gordon Pickles, Tom Chavasse and Colin Campbell all set out from Oxford to map and collect various specimens and samples from the Usun Apau region. Over the last 64 years the landscape has changed significantly, with deforestation and the rise of palm oil plantations vastly altering this once untouched  area.  Through re-photography and the detail of their reports, we retraced some of their steps and hopefully highlighted the changes to this incredible ecosystem.




Rosie is a 3rd year Biologist at Oxford. Having always had a passion for conservation, she's surveyed nudibranch diversity in Mozambique, volunteered for Oxford badger research projects and studied social cognition at Royal Holloway to gain more scientific experience. Her current projects are with the Nekton Mission and also Stanford's Centre for Ocean Solutions, creating sustainably managed Marine Protected Areas. Presently Undergraduate Rep for the British Ecological Society (BES) Conservation group, she helps produce social media outputs promoting 

environmental research and conservation careers to younger students. As Treasurer of the Oxford Exploration Club and Science officer for the expedition she would like to see more student-led research and conservation efforts, and hopes that Usun Apau Retraced will help encourage others to do so too.


Maryam is a first year biologist in Oxford University, with a particular interest in zoology and animal behaviour. She is highly adventurous with a strong interest in solo travelling. Born and raised in Malaysia, Maryam loves being outdoors and wishes to work in the conservation field in the future. She had prior experience in green and humpback turtle conservation - doing tasks such as tagging and population monitoring, in-situ conservation and relocation of turtle eggs, as well as collecting scientific data on nesting behaviours at Terengganu, Malaysia. Through this expedition she hopes to help increase awareness on the importance of conservation especially to the local population.


Matt is a 3rd year Geography student at the University of Oxford with ambitions to follow a career in conservation research. He's been lucky enough to grow up in the Lake District where he developed a passion for conservation and the outdoors, which has lead him to Usun Apau and hopefully to many more amazing places. Matt has recently finished his thesis on small carnivores in Boreno and hopes to spend more time out in the jungle soon. He's worked with Oxford's Environmental Change Institute, carrying out research into the effects of Ash Dyeback on Wytham woods and has also been part of their sustainable management programme. He's currently carrying out a camera trap internship with WildCRU and is keen to pursue conservation research as a future career. He is also the President of the Oxford Exploration Club. 


Azam is a postgraduate student  studying remote sensing and sediment concentration in rivers. He is passionate with people and nature, raised in Sarawak exploring the forest and integrating with the various ethnic groups. He loves to explore the jungle to learn survival skills and record the diverse array of flora and fauna. He represented the Malaysian Youth to advocate Climate Change action in the United Nations 23rd Conference of Parties in Bonn Germany. Regularly conducts motivational talks  and educational talks in schools in Sarawak as an invited speaker and is a firm believer of youth empowerment through knowledge. 


An environmental science graduate from the University of Nottingham, Pouvalen discovered his passion for wildlife conservation while volunteering at the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. Since then, he has been involved with the Gibbons Protection Society of Malaysia, and the Langur Project Penang studying primate behaviour and WWF India investigating red panda habitat in Himalayan villages. He is keen about conservation landscape planning and in the future, wants to investigate the issues which slow down progress in conservation initiatives and employ the principles of conservation psychology to address them.




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Lots of love,

The Usun Apau Team!