Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme



Tasik Chini is the second largest natural lake in Malaysia and the first in the country to receive UNESCO recognition in 2009 as one of the UNESCO programme (Man and Biosphere). Following the recognition of the area as well as providing support to the concept of sustainable tourism that involves a balance between humans and the biosphere. With the barraging of the only river, Sungai Chini, that drains the lake, Tasik Chini is always flooded even during the drier season to encourage ecotourism throughout the year.




UNESCO has designated Sabah’s Crocker Range as a World Biosphere Reserve in 2014 and The Crocker Range is now part of the Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme at the Jonkoping University in Sweden.

Ecological Characteristics

Situated south of the World Heritage Site Mount Kinabalu, the Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve forms chain mountains with no distinct peaks in western Sabah. The rocky topography constitutes solely of mountains, hills and small basins dissected by deep river valleys. Elevation above sea level of the Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve ranges from 6m to 2,076m. At the site, 105m above sea level, the highest temperature is 32°C and the lowest is 20°C. The area has around 3,000 mm/year precipitation on average and is home to a wide array of endangered species. This biosphere reserve covers an area of 350,584 ha, stretching approximately 120km north and south, and 40km east and west, encompassing rich biodiversity and tropical hill-montane landscape.

Human Activities

The total population in the Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve is around 99,000 with 399 villages. The Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve consists of three area categorised as:

  1.  The core area
  2.  Buffer zone
  3.  Transition area

Considering the core area is strictly utilized for long-term research programmes, environmental education, tourism, and more, its estimated population is a mere 200 people. These 30 families engage in agricultural and natural resource use of the Crocker Range Park, producing rubber and cocoa as well as working in various governmental agencies and private sectors.

With local authorities and communities very involved in the nomination of the biosphere reserve, livelihoods are mostly sustained through agricultural activities such as hill paddy, coconut and fruit farming. Hunting activities are still practised in the Crocker Range Park, incorporated as part of their inherited ancestral culture. Animals such as deer, wild pigs, squirrels and birds are among the common game available to residents, who mainly hunt for personal consumption. The park’s vegetables and forest plants are also used by inhabitants for medical purposes.