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Ramsar sites in Malaysia

Conservation of Ramsar sites in Malaysia


Action Description:

There are currently 5 Ramsar Sites in Malaysia.

Tasek Bera
Tasek Bera is Malaysia's first Wetland of International Importance. It is located in southern central part of Peninsular Malaysia, in the state of Pahang. 

Tasek Bera is a lowland alluvial riparian swamp system, which lies within the catchment of Sungai Pahang, the Peninsular's largest river. The wetland system consists of a dentritic complex of inflowing streams and swamps, measuring 34.6 km long by 25.3 km wide. The catchment area of Tasek Bera is around 61,380 ha. The Ramsar Site of 31,120 ha includes over 6,800 ha of wetland habitats. 

Habitat types
The wetland consists of a complex range of habitats including rivers and streams, freshwater and peat swamp forests (79%), transitional open-forested swamps (7%), Pandanus helicopus swamps and Lepironia articulata reedbeds (12%) as well as open water (2%) with a highly diverse algal community and beds of submerged macrophytes.Lowland forests still cover most of the immediate surrounding of the wetland.


The open waters support the growth of notable aquatic plants such as the Lotus Nelumbo nucifera, Water Lilies Nymphaea spp. and Bladderworts Utricularia spp. The endemic Purple Water Trumpet Cryptocoryne purpurea is found in shaded clear streams and water pools in the freshwater swamp systems. Large areas of open swamps are dominated by Screwpine Pandanus helicopus and Tube Sedge Lepironia articulata, along with climbers such as the Pitcher Plant Nepenthes gracilis

The wetlands and surrounding lowland forests of Tasek Bera are home to a great diversity of life which includes at least 374 plant species, more than 200 birds, 10 turtles, 68 mammals and 94 fish. 

Wetlands International with funding from Danish Cooperation for Environment and Development has developed the integrated management plan for the Ramsar site.

Publications on Tasek Bera
Wetlands International has produced a number of publications on Tasek Bera


Tajung Piai State Park
The Tanjung Piai wetland consists of coastal mangroves and intertidal mudflats. It forms the only mangrove corridor that connects Pulau Kukup and the Sungai Pulai wetlands. Five rivers dissect the Tanjung Piai State Park. The mangrove in this State Park is a typical example of a Rhizophora apiculata-Bruguiera cylindrica dominated coastal forest. 

The mudflats however are extensive, namely at the southern-most tip of Tanjung Piai. Five species of large waterbirds and 7 species of shorebirds were seen to be feeding on these mudflats. These include migratory species such as the Grey Plower, Whimbrel, Common Redshank and Greenshank, Terek Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper. The mangroves of Tanjung Piai have been conserved in the past for the protection of the shoreline, as the immediate hinterlands are all cultivated farmlands.

Bunds were created along the west and east coasts of Tanjung Piai to protect farmlands from being inundated by salt waters. Tidal currents heavily erode Tanjung Piai with the coastal mangrove fringes being reduced to 50m at certain stretches. The Tanjung Piai State Park is home to about 20 'true' mangrove plant species as well as 9 more mangrove-associated species, which demonstrates high species diversity in such a small area. 


This mangrove area is also rich in fauna: birds (41 species), mammals (7 species), reptiles (7 species) and amphibians (1 species). Species of conservation value include the following - the threatened resident stork Lesser Adjutant; the rare or uncommon species of waders (shorebirds) such as the Malaysian Plover, Spotted Greenshank, Asian Dowitcher, Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Chinese Crested Tern; and mammals such as the Dusky Leaf Monkey, Smooth Otter, Long-tailed and Pig-tailed Macaques, Wild Pig and the Flying Fox. 

Pulau Kukup State Park
Pulau Kukup is a mangrove island located at about 1 km offshore from the south-western region of the state of Johor, Peninsular Malaysia. It is a small mangrove island (approximately 647.2 ha) surrounded by mudflats (about 800 ha). The island experienced extensive harvesting for mangrove wood back in the 80', however, wood extracting operations from this island had ceased since August 1993. Regeneration of mangrove tree species has indeed taken place since then.

The natural resources of Pulau Kukup have never been studied in detail. As a result, these type of wetland habitats are under-represented and ignored in the list of wetland habitats of national importance. Pulau Kukup was officially gazetted as a State Park under the jurisdictionof the Johor State Park Corporation on 27 March 1997. The objective of turning this island into a state park was to promote preservation of this habitat in Peninsular Malaysia, as well to promote the eco-tourism sector and to provide research avenues. 

The main reason of turning Pulau Kukup into a state park was for conservation purposes, the Johor State Park Corporation strongly believed that an ecological assessment of the whole island was needed as data on the natural resources of Pulau Kukup are very scarce. Wetlands International was commissioned by the Johor State Park Corporation to carry out a study on the ecological assessment of Pulau Kukup, Johor. 

Sungai Pulai Wetland
The Sungai Pulai wetlands, which are occupied largely by the Sungai Pulai Mangrove Forest Reserve (MFR), consist of mangroves (estuarine, riverine and dryland), intertidal mudflats, seagrass bed and freshwater riverine forests. Sungai Pulai MFR remains as the largest intact block of mangrove forest in Johor and the largest remaining intact riverine mangrove area in Peninsular Malaysia. 

The Sungai Pulai forms the district boundary between the mangrove forests located in Pontian and Johor Bahru. The Sungai Pulai itself is of major ecological importance because of its continuous input of freshwater into the upper reaches of Sungai Pulai estuary. 

The mangrove of Sungai Pulai MFR is a typical example of a Rhizophora mucronata-Bruguiera parviflora dominated production forest. It has been intensively managed for forest products on a rotational basis for at least 50 years. Sungai Pulai MFR is home to about 24 'true' mangrove plant species as well as 21 more mangrove-associated species, which demonstrates a high species richness in the area. 

Out of these, 3 species are found to be notably uncommon, Avicennia lanata (an endemic species), Bruguiera sexangula and Podocarpus polystachus. The Sungai Pulai MFR is also rich in fauna: birds (53 species), mammals (26 species), reptiles (12 species), amphibians (7 species), fish (111 species) as well as benthic organisms (39 species). Species of conservation value include the following: bird species such as the Mangrove Pitta, Mangrove Blue Flycatcher and Mangrove Whistler; and mammals such as the Long-tailed and Pig-tailed Macaques, Common and Brushed-tailed Porcupines, Wild Pig and Lesser Mouse Deer, Slow Loris, Dusky Leaf Monkey, Leopard Cat, Scaly Ant-eater, Smooth Otter and the Bearded Pig. Mangrove-dependent commercial fish species such as Sea Bass, Mangrove Snapper, Grouper and Marine Catfish are also found here.

As a unique, contiguous mangrove area in the south-west Johor region, the Sungai Pulai MFR has important ecological functions (sediment retention, nutrient retention, toxicant removal), in harbouring economically viable wetland products (timber and fisheries), for providing physical functions (coastal protection from strong wind and sea currents, water transport), in supporting spectacular biological diversity and in providing critical habitats in the life cycles of notable flora and fauna. 

The Sungai Pulai MFR is managed primarily for commercial wood production using the silvicultural system that requires clear felling of trees under a 20-year rotation. About 80% of the Sungai Pulai MFR consists of mangrove stands of less than 20 years of age. The current sustainable forestry practiced by the State Forestry Department at the mangrove reserve is well-documented. With some form of mangrove management in operation since 1928, it appears that forest management practices in the Sungai Pulai MFR comply very well with the Ramsar Convention guidelines for the implementation of the wise-use concept of wetland resources.

Kuching Wetlands National Park
A saline mangrove system in Sarawak with flora comprising predominantly the genera Rhizophora, Avicennia and Sonneratia. The site harbours such noteworthy species as Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus) (endemic to Borneo and listed as 'Endangered', IUCN Red List), Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus ('Vulnerable')), and Griffith's Silver Leaf Monkey (Trachypithecus villosus). The site has value as a breeding and nursery ground for fish and prawn species - 43 families of fishes and 11 species of prawns have been recorded, many of which are commercially important.

Its proximity to the city of Kuching, the Damai resort complex, and two other national parks renders it of high potential value for tourism, education and recreation. The area is historically important: there was a Chinese settlement there probably as early as the 1st century AD, and early Malay, Hindu and Buddhist relics from the 9th century AD have been excavated at Santubong Village. The discovery of gold made the area an important trading and iron mining centre from the 7th to 13th centuries; some enigmatic rock carvings of human figures remain from this period. In the 15th century, Santubong was the site of the original Brunei Malay capital of Sarawak.