History

SERD

This history of Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) Society goes back to 1995 when Borneo Eco Tours together with Sukau Rainforest Lodge organised the first environmental project to remove Salvinia molesta weeds from the Kelenanap oxbow lake which flows into the Kinabatangan River at Sukau.

After several more community projects including water tank projects and medical projects and after winning a few international ecotourism awards, the company decided to form our own community and environment profit foundation in 1999, Sukau Ecotourism Research and Development Centre or S.E.R.D.C. Several projects including tree planting and medical projects later in 2007, it was decided that SERDC has outgrown its scope and original objectives. Lessons were learned on mistakes made from the implementation of community projects. At the same time, BEST Society has also intentionally moved away from its original philosophy of providing welfare to the local community to projects that develop social entrepreneurship A decision was made to further enlarge the scope to extend our projects and to apply our success model to other parts of Sabah.

SERDC was thus set up for the following reasons:

  • The success of Borneo Eco Tours and Sukau Rainforest Lodge in winning several international ecotourism awards for its environmental management programs.
  • The success in the implementation of our environmental and community projects.
  • The increasing threat to the biodiversity of the lower Kinabatangan region from illegal logging and clearing of forested areas for commercial agriculture particularly large scale oil palm plantations.
  • The increasing threat to the wildlifes in the lower Kinabatangan region resulting from the reduction in the natural habitat and the increasing incidence of encroachment of elephants into plantations.
  • The increasing popularity of ecotourism and number of tourists to the area with its potential negative impact on the local communities, wildlifes and the environment.
  • It was felt that some issues concerning ecotourism could only be tackled on a long term basis and with the co-operation of the other stakeholders.
  • There was also a need to conduct more research to understand the local cultures, attitudes, and the ecosystem.
  • There was a need to identify and prioritise the community and environmental projects.
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