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Legal classification    Location & access    Infrastructure    History & management    Settlements & adjacent land-uses    Physical environment    Vegetation    Fauna    Research    Threats & constraints    Special attributes

Last updated: 26 Apr 2005

Survey carried out in September 2001.

Legal classification

Class I Protection Forest Reserve (FR)

AreaApprox. 371 ha.


Location & access

Balembangan FR is situated in the south end of Balembangan Island, about 28 km north of Kudat town. Access to the FR is by sea. An available disembarking point is at a private jetty, about 3 km from the FR.

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History & Management

Creation—Balembangan FR was first gazetted in 1930. It was regazetted as Class I FR in 1984.


Management responsibility—Mukim Bangi, Kudat District Forestry Office.


Boundary matters—Demarcated.


Management plan—None.


Current use—None.

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Settlements & adjacent land-use

The nearest villages are Kg. Sina in the southeast, Kg. Lok Simpul in the east and Kg. Batu Siri in the northeast. The villagers mainly work in the fishing industry. There are some small scale shifting cultivation, presumably for vegetables. A private company, Chung Pao Ocean Sdn. Bhd., cultivates sea cucumbers at a site about 3 km from the FR.


Physical environment

Topography—The FR has rugged topography with steep slopes and ridges. The highest point is approximately 92 m asl. The coastal areas supporting mangroves are flat.


Hydrology—Generally well-drained. The FR is a water catchment for Sg. Kebrangi and the larger Sg. Simpul (Ayer Simpul).


SoilsGomantong, Tuaran, Tanjung Aru & Weston soil associations.

For soil map, click here.

Meteorological data—The nearest meteorological stations are at Kudat, Langkon and Pitas.

Map of met. stations    Rainfall map


See current vegetation map here

See natural vegetation map here

See satellite image here

The vegetation of Balembangan Island, as a whole, is very diverse and botanically interesting. Based on the collections from 2 major field trips (1977 and 1994), the flora of the island is comprised of 81 families, 205 genera and 257 species.


Limestone vegetation covers approximately 70 % of the FR, the rest being mangrove and coastal areas. The mangrove flora is common with Rhizophora apiculata (bangkita), Rhizophora stylosa, Sonneratia alba (lenggadai) and Ceriops decandra. Sempilau is common along the coastal portion. Pandanus tectorius is particularly abundant, lining water course behind mangroves.


The dipterocarps recorded were Shorea faguetiana, Vatica maritima and Dipterocarpus grandiflorus.

Read more about the limestone vegetation in Balembangan Island

Read more about mangroves.


Footprints of sambhar deer, mouse deer and wild boar were seen. Long-tailed macaques and estuarine crocodile were seen.




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Threats & constraints

Fire—Fire is a threat to the FR.


Erosion—Coastal erosion is also a threat especially in the west of the FR.


Special attributes

Limestone outcrops normally contain plant species of high diversity and endemism. The FR serves as a water catchment. The locals depend on the water from Sg. Simpul which flows from the FR.

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