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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: 18 Feb 2005

Survey not carried out yet.

Legal classification

Class I Protection Forest Reserve (FR)

AreaApprox. 11,497 ha.


Location & access

The FR is a large island located in the Darvel Bay, off Kunak town. Access is by sea.



There were unsealed roads in certain parts of the islands, although not linked to each other..

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History & management

Creation—The FR was first gazetted in 1930. It was later regazetted as Class I FR in 14/3/1984.


Management responsibility—Mukim xxxx, Kunak District Forestry Office.


Boundary matters—The whole island is a FR.


Management plan—None.


Current use—None.


Settlements & adjacent land-use

Some areas of the island was inhabited a long time ago. Some of the main villages are Kg. Mantandak (in the west), Kg. Lakai Lakai (north), Kg. Dap Dap (northeast) and Kg. Kubor (east). Newer settlements are in the southeastern portion of the island where land clearing is active.

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Physical environment

Topography—The FR is generally very hilly with amplitudes up to 300 m, slopes are generally between 15° and 25°, but many are steeper. The highest point in the island is Mt. Tannabalu (about 596 m asl) in the north-central portion of the island. Another peak in the east is at 518 m asl. There are swampy areas in the southern coast, in the west and in the northeast. However, most of these areas are not in the FR. The western tip of the island is called Tanjung Mata Manuk.


Hydrology—All of the mostly unnamed rivers flow into the Darvel Bay.


Soils—Mainly Bang and Tinagat Associations, with Kinabatangan, Weston and Sipit.

For soil map, click here.

Meteorological data—See Sabah Agricultural Development station, Kalumpang-Kunak and Madai-Lormalong data.

Map of met. stations    Rainfall map


See current vegetation map here

See natural vegetation map here

See satellite image here

The natural vegetation here is mainly Lowland MDF, Upland MDF, Lowland Freshwater Swamp Forest, Mangrove and Secondary Forest.


  • The Lowland MDF is of a Type A dipterocarp forest, which is characterised by the dominance of Parashorea malaanonan, where it is locally gregarious on steep slopes with S. guiso, Cynometra elmeri, Pterocymbium tinctorum and Pterospermum stapfianum (the two latter seral species suggesting frequent windfalls), also with palms and liana abundant. On less steep slopes, though still the predominant species, P. malaanonan is found in association with Rubroshorea species S. johorensis, S. leprosula, S. smithiana, and S. ovalis and, infrequently Dr. lanceolata and D. caudiferus. Local occurrence of Drypetes /Cynometra /Dialium on dry, rounded hills with P. malaanonan absent may represent late secondary forest following fire. Diospyros macrophylla is the commonest species of the genus on the FR.


  • The lowland freshwater swamp forests are rather poor swamp dipterocarp forest with Shorea leprosula and  Dipterocarpus applanatus in the upper canopy and an abundance of Syzygium sp., Diospyros sp. and Annonaceae in the understorey. A rather open Alstonia swamp forest with other species present, including Parkia sp. and Glochidion sp.; a mixed swamp forest of Syzygium and Diospyros sp. and a swamo forest with Nauclea sp. and Dipspyros sp.


  • The mangrove zone contains typical mangrove species and nipah but the extent is not as great as on the mainland. The common species are Nypa fruticans. Rhizophora mucronata, Rhizophora apiculata, Bruguiera parviflora and Excoelania agallacha occur in tidal flats. Somewhat drier sites on low crabs mounds support Ceriops tagal, Xylocarpus granatium and Avicenia alba with the piah fern Acrosticum aureum on the summits of the mounds.


  • Information for the Upland MDF is unavailable.


  • The central and northeast parts of the FR is mainly made up of secondary forest. There are also newer areas in the south coast that are cleared by illegal settlers using fire, especially in the southeast coast.


According to the Forestry Department 1932 Annual Report, 66.67% consisted of commercial forest, 18.82 of non-commercial forest, 10.15% of mangrove and 4.36% of grassland and cultivated areas. The most important species were selangan batu, seraya, urat mata, binuang, merbau, dara-dara, belian keruing, kapur, gagil, selangan kaca, selangan batu merah, keranji, ranggu, resak, nyatoh and kulimpapa. (N.B. Proper species names were then not available. The taxonomy of indigenous trees in 1932 was not as developed as today). The estimated stand of all species per hectare was 26.9 cubic meters.

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No survey has been carried out.



Many experiments were carried out on this FR and the nearby islands of Pababag and Selangan (both FRs) from 1920 onwards. Below is a list of research activities conducted in the island.


  • In 1930, the teak trees seeded well but fires hampered their growth. No records could be found concerning teak establishment on the island but they were most probably planted in the 1880s. Growth was excellent.

  • 1934, a species of bamboo was planted. The purpose of the planting is unknown.

  • In 1940, teak cuttings and seedling were planted in the lalang area in Compartment 10.

  • In 1950, thinning was carried out on teak plots as their growth were heavily suppressed by climbers.

Regeneration studies were carried out in the early 1970s by ecologists from the Forest Research Centre. About 15.4 commercial trees (> 1 foot girth) per acre was recorded. The fairly high density of commercial pole-sized trees recorded in the residual stand may probably be attributed to the presence of physical barriers such as boulders and rocks.


No research is currently carried out by the Forestry Department in the island.


Threats & constraints





Soil erosion—?


Special attributes


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