Gunung Buda Project
Founded in 1996, the Gunung Buda Project seeks to protect and preserve the Gunung Buda (White Mountain) Massif on the island of Borneo in Sarawak, Malaysia as a Malaysian national park. It was gazetted as a national park in 2001.
This outstanding region of lowland tropical rain forest has fantastic caves including some of the longest and deepest caves in Southeast Asia. The project is primarily made-up of American and British cavers and cave scientists who enjoy cave exploration, survey, photography and research. Most of the project members are also members of the National Speleological Society (NSS). The Gunung Buda Project is a project of the NSS.
Of tremendous importance to the success of the Project and expeditions that visit Gunung Buda are the many Malaysians who either work for the Forestry Department of Sarawak, nearby Gunung Mulu National Park, or are local Tabuan people or who are employed by a local outfitter. Malaysians act as guides through the local jungles and caves, and assist with the cave surveys and research.
The Gunung Buda Area was first visited by British Cavers, members of what is now the Mulu Caves Project in 1978. They found the entrances and initial passages to several large caves, beginning exploration on the 1980 and 1984 Mulu Expeditions. These explorers were part of a larger effort investigating the caves further south in the Gunung Mulu National Park. This area has some of the world's most amazing caves including Clearwater, the eighth longest cave in the world (2009), Deer Cave, the second largest cave passage in the world, and the Sarawak Chamber, the largest cave room in the world, which is roughly a half mile long, a quarter mile wide and has a 400-foot (120 m)-high ceiling. Americans first visited Gunung Buda when John Lane and George Prest visited the mountain to assess its potential for an American expedition in 1993. In late 1994 and early 1995 the first American expedition took place. Other followed in 1996 and 1997. Collectively the expeditions have surveyed more than 60 kilometres of cave passages beneath Gunung Buda.
The rain forests of Buda and nearby Mulu host a tremendous diversity of life including at least 300 bird species, numerous primates, more than 2,500 tree species, more than 60 snakes and many other beautiful varied forms of life. The climate is wet year around and temperatures climb into the low 30s Celsius every day. Changes in substrate, slope, elevation and drainage make the forests of the area particularly varied. At Gunung Buda, limestone forest, lowland dipterocarp forests, kerangas swamp forests and upland dipterocarp forests all grow.
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