The Malua BioBank co-operates with local communities and has conducted several studies to explore the relationship they have with the rainforest.

In the past communities had flourishing livelihoods in the form of fishing, hunting abundant wildlife and gathering non-timber forest products such as rattan, illipe nuts, honey, resins and latex. The cultivation of subsistence crops such as rice and tapioca was also an important part of past livelihoods.

Fishing remains a traditional livelihood pursuit, but these local communities no longer depend on the forests as was previously the case. As part of its ongoing Conservation Management Plan Malua BioBank engages with these local communities to help protect the reserve and offers employment opportunities.

People from local villages and the adjoining oil palm estates to Malua Forest Reserve will undergo training and be appointed as "Honorary Wildlife Wardens".

With this special training, they become wildlife champions, assist with human-wildlife conflict issues and provide extra support for the Malua Protection Teams in ensuring that wildlife is not illegally hunted.