Tropical Research and Conservation Centre (TRACC) is a recently incorporated Non Profit Organisation based in East Malaysia.  TRACC was formed in 2001 to bring together into one NGO body a variety of existing and startup conservation and sustainable development projects in East Borneo.  The TRACC has an existing staff of 3 persons who work with 4-6 local collaborators and conduct research for a variety of conservation projects. 


TRACC is committed to applying the information collected during surveys conducted over the past five years to the overall objective of sustainable use of marine ecosystems.  These surveys conducted by Prof Steve Oakley and the UNIMAS team visited 325 sites around the coast of Borneo.  A total of 44 km of reef were surveyed by line transect techniques for health, coral cover and fish diversity.  All this data has been geo-referenced and is available as part of a Geographic Information System.  TRACC is also dedicated to conducting research to improve both knowledge and techniques for conservation and sustainable management of marine resources. The existing ongoing TRACC research programme for Coral Reef Biodiversity Conservation in the South China Sea is as follows:-

      1.1.    Biodiversity monitoring and survey.

1.1.1.        Rapid site surveys

1.1.2.        Global coral reef monitoring network surveys

1.1.3.        Invertebrate surveys

1.2.    Environmental education programme integrated with alternative income programmes and focused on the marine environment users.

1.3.    Development of community level aquaculture.

1.4.    Development of a community fishery management system

1.5.    Increasing the knowledge base especially for rare or endangered marine species.


The major project for Objective 1 is the Pulau Banggi Project for Marine Biodiversity Conservation.  This project with a staff of four uses groups of 16 volunteers who each spend 10 weeks conducting biodiversity surveys in the Pulau Banggi area. 


In conjunction with the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation, University Malaysia Sarawak and the Department of Fisheries Sabah, a large number of coral reef, mangrove and social environment surveys have been carried out both in a small area around Pulau Banggi to give detailed information, and over most of the East Malaysia seas to try to understand the regional extent of the more important issues.  


The volunteers for the Pulau Banggi Project are provided by Greenforce, which is a non profit organisation registered in the United Kingdom, whose primary purpose is research and environmental education in various locations around the world.  Greenforce was founded in 1997 and now operates in 6 countries in a variety of environments.  


The organisation's primary strategy is to use volunteers from developed countries to undertake research and environmental education projects in undeveloped areas of host countries.  

Objectives 1 and 2 will be expanded over the next five years as a part of a project to collect and identify all marine invertebrates and plants from the shallow waters around Borneo.  

Objective 5 has been addressed over the past 3 years by a series of expeditions to study spawning aggregation sites for coral reef fish especially groupers and Humphead wrasse.  Fish migrate long distances to these sites to reproduce and within these small areas, it is very easy for overfishing to occur.  Many spawning sites in the South China Sea have been completely overfished and only a few sites remain where there are enough adult fish to breed successfully.  

Obviously conservation of these few small areas is critical for the reproduction of many commercial species and thus for the survival of the population and the fishery.  


TRACC is also involved with practical Marine Biodiversity Conservation with a 6 month project to regenerate a coral reef.  The reef was blasted by bomb fishers and coral is being replanted to stabilise the rubble and to increase the biodiversity of the area.  This site will be used as a demonstration of the benefits of protected areas and the damage caused by destructive fishing.