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Maliau Basin was originally part of the 10,000 km2 timber concession held by the Yayasan Sabah (Sabah Foundation), an organisation dedicated to uplifting the standard of life and education of the people of Sabah, through revenue gained from timber extraction. Though slated for logging in 1970, the Basin continued to resist nearly all attempts to breach its formidable defences until 1981.
This was when the Yayasan Sabah, recognizing that the Basin contained a unique, almost self-contained ecosystem, and realizing that the need for conservation went hand in hand with development, designated the 390 km2 Basin as a Conservation Area for scientific research and education, sister to the Conservation Area already established at the Danum Valley, some 60 km to the east.
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