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updated: 26 Apr 2005
carried out in October 2000.
I Protection Forest Reserve (FR)
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The Tawai FR is in
the Telupid District, just south of Telupid town and approximately 138 km west
from Sandakan town. Its northern boundary is close to the
Sandakan-Telupid Highway, thus access to the FR from Telupid is good. It is also
accessible from nearby Kg Entelebon and Kg Minusoh in the west, and from the
Tongod District in the southwest. Except for the highway, all roads are
unsealed, all-weather main roads.
network of road in the adjacent oil palm plantations (mainly Mayvin Estate,
Agoco Estate and Perdana Estate) also lead to the boundary of the FR. Tung Hup
Sdn. Bhd. is still maintaining logging roads in the Sg. Pinangah FR (a Class II
FR) in the south and in the Tangkulap FR in the southeast. Both FRs are under
Yayasan Sabah concession areas.
A Forestry Station
(Mukim Entelebon) is located along the Entelebon-Telupid road in the west, about
15 km form Telupid. A Forest Fire Observation Tower (about 7 m high) was built
at Tongkungon Hill (see Pic TW9) in the eastern portion of the FR. There are also
communication towers here built by Telekom Malaysia and Celcom. There
are some recreational facilities built by the Forestry Department at the Tawai
Waterfall but they are not properly maintained (see Pic TW10).
Mayvin Estate oil palm company built and maintains a recreation shelter (see Pic
close to the eastern boundary for its staff.
FR was first gazetted in 6/1/1972. It was later regazetted as Class I
FR in 14/3/1984.
responsibility—Mukim Entelebon, Telupid District Forestry Office.
FR was demarcated in 2002.
are two sawmills, Golden Apex and Kilang Papan Telupid, operating within the FR.
Both sawmills has permission from the Department to operate. However, there was
not much activity observed during the survey.
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& adjacent land-use
Surrounding the FR
are several oil palm estates, settlements, private-owned farms and the Tangkulap Commercial Forest
Reserve (under Yayasan Sabah FMU 17). There are two
sawmills within the FR. The Golden Apex Sawmills (location 5’35’55”N;
117’08’06”) and the Kilang Papan Telupid (location 5°38’30”N; 117°11’07”E)
are located close to the boundary (and within the FR) near the town of Telupid. To the southwest
are several oil palms estates like Perdana Estate, Mayvin
Estate and Agroco Estate.
In the north of the FR
lies the town of
Telupid. Settlers plant hill paddy close to the boundary. Villages in the west include Kg. Entelebon, Kg.
Karamuak and Kg. Wasai with approximately 500 households. Others are Kg. Boto
There is a cow
ranch run by the Veterinary Department in the southwest (see pic).
of Tawai FR is mountainous, with slopes more than 25°. The flatter areas are
close to the northern and eastern boundaries (Ruku Ruku Valley). Mt. Tawai
(1,273 m), the highest peak in the Tawai Range, is situated in the southwest of
the FR is well-drained. The Meliau River and its tributaries drains most of the
southwest and flows into the Karamuak River. The Mailo River drains the northern
parts and flows north into the Labuk River. The Ruku Ruku River drains the north-eastern
parts and flows south into the Lokan River. The Kun Kun River drains the
south-eastern parts and drains into the Tangkulap Besar River. Both the Karamuak
and the Tangkulap Besar Rivers flows into the Kinabatangan River in the south.
of the FR is under the Bidu
Bidu soil association. The Binalik
association covers some portions of the north in the Ruku Ruku river valley. The
Lokan association covers the southeast corner. There are a few other soil
Mentapok) covering patches along the FR boundary.
For soil map, click here.
data—The nearest met stations are at
Map of met. stations
See current vegetation map here
See natural vegetation map
See satellite image here
The 4 main
forest types in Tawai FR are the lowland and upland ultramafic forests,
upland mixed dipterocarp forest and kerangas forest. Ultramafic forests cover most of the FR and is very much intact in terms
of structure and composition except for areas adjacent to the FR boundary. The
kerangas forest type is found along the Ruku Ruku River valley in the
northeast. A total of 38
dipterocarp species were recorded from plots totalling 4.4. ha in area.
dominates these forests. In the lowland ultramafic forest, the most common
dipterocarp species are Shorea laevis, Shorea platyclados, Shorea hypoleuca,
Shorea mecistopterix, Dipterocarpus acutangulus, Dipterocarpus confertus and
Dryobalanops lanceolata. Koompassia malaccensis is also a common
emergent. Endemic orchids such as Paraphalaenopsis labukensis, Cymbidium spp.
and Bulbophyllum spp. are also found.
here to see forest profile of this forest type.
In the upland
ultramafic forest, Casuarinaceae is the most
dominant family. The most common dipterocarps are Dipterocarpus lowii,
Dipterocarpus geniculatus, Shorea andulensis, Shorea kunstleri, Shorea laxa,
Shorea micans and Shorea venulosa. Borneodendron aenigmaticum is
common at 900 m
mixed dipterocarp forest
most common dipterocarps species are Dipterocarpus
acutangulus, Dipterocarpus lowii, Dipterocarpus geniculatus, Shorea andulensis,
Shorea laevis, Shorea laxa, Shorea smithiana and Hopea nervosa.
secondary forests all along the boundaries of the FR. The most disturbed area
within the FR area is in the Ruku Ruku valley. Most of the vegetation here is
secondary forest. The most
dominant secondary forest tree genus in badly disturbed areas is Macaranga.
There are several non-timber plants endemic to ultramafic substrate
anaegmaticum, Phyllanthus lamprophyllus, Ceuthostoma terminalis, and Racemobambos sp. And
the dipterocarps that are restricted to ultramafic substrate are Dipterocarpus lowii (see pic
TW2) and Shorea
There were signs
of wild boars, wild fowls, barking deer (payau), mouse deer
and monkeys. Several butterflies were observed; Erites argentina,
Lexias pardalis, Lexias canescens and Idea stolli confined
only to shaded and forested areas. Red leaf monkeys, clouded leopards and
gibbons were also present.
A survey on the
birds of Tawai FR was conducted in mid-August 2004 by the Sabah Museum and Dr.
Frederick H. Sheldon (Louisiana State University). It was conducted at Ulu Ruku
Ruku, 130 m elevation. The main purpose of the study was to locate 3 species of
birds that are largely restricted to poor soil forest: Hook-billed Bulbul,
Gray-breasted Babbler and the Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker. Only the latter two
were found. A total of 47 species were netted, seen or heard.
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In 1994, the
Forest Research Centre organised the Tawai Botanical Expedition funded by the
'Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak Project'. The participants were botanists and
plant taxonomists from various herbaria in Malaysia, as well as foreign
taxonomists. Many new species of plants were described from this area. FRC
continues to use this FR as a source of seeds and wild seedlings of selected
tree species, and also for occasional plant or insect collecting trips.
FR was badly affected by fires in 1983 and 1998. The most affected areas were the forests adjacent to
settlements and oil palms estates. These areas are now covered with various
Macaranga species. In
1998, an area adjacent to FR boundary was cleared using fire for agricultural
purposes. The fire destroyed a large area of forests after it spread into
satellite image (taken in Sept 2000) showed that the low-lying areas along the
eastern boundary were logged. The image also showed that the Ruku Ruku valley
within the FR in the north was exposed to recent land-clearing. Much of this
valley is now secondary forest.
were signs of small-scale illegal felling in Tawai FR, probably carried out in September
2001. About than 10 logs were felled and presumably hauled to the Meliau River
were debarking was done (a debarked round log was seen during the survey).
According to one foreign worker, the logs belonged to villager living nearby.
There were also
traces of larger scale illegal logging operations, carried out probably between October
and December 2000, in many parts of the primary ultramafic forest rich with
dipterocarps (see pics TW4
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attributes & significance
The is potential
for Tawai FR to be developed as a major nature tourism destination between Mt
Kinabalu and Sandakan. The two factors
that may make this a reality are Mt Tawai and the Tawai Waterfall (see
pic TW8). The hike to
the peak of Mt Tawai takes about 5 hours from the base of Sg. Meliau (5°30’39”N;
The changes in vegetation as one hikes to the cooler environment near the summit
is very interesting. The view from the summit is also a spectacular one. The
Meliau River drains the Tawai Plateau in the north and descends by the spectacular
Tawai Waterfall over the sheer northern edge.
This FR is a very
important area for the conservation of ultramafic flora, apart from Bidu Bidu
The Project Team
will propose to reclassify the Tawai Plateau, currently within the Sungai
Pinangah FR (Class II, Commercial Forest Reserve) to be included in the Tawai FR
The Tawai Plateau (see
Pic TW7) is a botanically interesting area. It is within the Sungai Pinangah
FR (Class II, Commercial Forest Reserve), close to the southern boundary of the
Tawai FR. At about 420
m on the Tawai Range, the plateau is level to gently sloping and
much is swampy. Its surface is formed of ironstone and alluvium derived from
ultrabasic rocks, with soils from the Tawai
streams which drain the swamps of the plateau have carved trench-like valleys
with narrow terraces.
boulder-covered flats support a low mossy forest with abundant orchids and
pitcher plants. Gymnostoma sumatrana is dominant with Tristaniopsis
(c.f.) grandifolia . Hopea pentanervia and Shorea venulosa are
amongst the dipterocarps present. In addition, the swamps support several
species of conifer, including Podocarpus. There are severe limitations of
soil depth, stoniness and drainage in the Tawai Association so that the land is
of no agricultural value.
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