Good Morning Royal Belum State Park, Malaysia


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Belum Valley Fact Sheet


bv1Located north of Perak state, Malaysia, Belum Valley covers 300,000 hectares of pristine rainforest known as Belum Temenggor Forest Complex (BTFC) and consist of several forest reserves area. The main area are the Royal Belum (north), Temenggor Forest Reserve (south), Gerik Forest Reserve and Bersia Forest Reserve.

The contiguous Belum and Temenggor forest reserves form the second largest remaining block of virgin forest in Peninsular Malaysia and the largest example of the northern monsoonal Burmese-Thai forest vegetation zone (Bamboo-Schima) in Malaysia. These forests are approximately 130 million years old, older than the Amazon and the Congo, and subsequently much more complex in their biodiversity. They support populations of large mammals and extensive stands of mixed dipterocarp forests over about 300,000 hectares, almost four times the size of Singapore, in one of the least accessible or developed areas of the Peninsula.

The Belum-Temengor Forest Complex forms the last remaining contiguous tract of forest in Peninsular Malaysia that is: i) currently outside
the National protected area system and ii) that is sufficiently large to support the huge diverse range of flora and fauna for which Malaysia is recognised as one of only twelve mega-biodiversity countries in the world.  The outstanding value of the BT Complex is a large landscape ecosystem, supporting large mammal populations such as Asian Elephant, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Malayan Tiger, Malayan Gaur (Seladang), Leopard and Tapir. These populations desperately need large forest areas to survive, and the BT Forest Complex is the last such refuge left in Malaysia. It is also recognized internationally as an Important Bird Area (IBA).bv5

With Taman Negara representing the biodiversity of central Peninsular Malaysia, Endau-Rompin with its West Borneo influence representing the southern end, the BT Forest Complex is the last major tract for the northern flora and fauna. Its protection will mark the fulfilment of our national obligation to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and presents an excellent chance to establish a transboundary Protected Area (PA) together with the Hala-Bala wildlife Sanctuary and the Bang Lang National Park in Thailand.

BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY OF THE BT COMPLEX

bv3Supports important keystone flora and fauna species: Over 3,000 species of flowering plants, many endemic to just the northern Peninsula, including 46 species of palms (15 endemic) and over 30 species of gingers (20% of the total number of Peninsula species), and a variety of rare orchids.

At least 274 species of birds and it must be noted that the entire BT Complex area has all 10 hornbills of Malaysia, with perhaps the largest remaining populations of breeding hornbills. It was recorded that at least 2, 000 Plain-pouched Hornbills were seen flying in just one evening.

 

 

  • 168 species of butterflies, including the rare Herona sumatrana and Tanaecia clathrata and 252 smaller moths
  • 95 identified species of leaf-beetles, with the highest likelihood that there are many more
  • 64 species of ferns and fern allies
  • 62 species of mosses
  • 51 species landsnails (one sixth of all known Peninsular Malaysian snail species)
  • 49 species of terrestrial and seven freshwater molluscs
  • 36 species of aquatic and semi-aquatic bugs, and a new aquatic fly
  • 25 species of cicadas
  • 24 species of amphibians
  • 21 species of lizards
  • 23 species of snakes
  • 23 species of freshwater fishes
  • 19 species of odonatas
  • 7 species of freshwater and land turtles. At least five and one globally threatened and near-threatened turtles and tortoises.
  • 3 species of freshwater decapod crustaceans

bv2BT Forest Complex contains a range of forest types characteristic of the northern monsoonal Burmese-Thai forest vegetation zone: Hill Dipterocarp Forest, Ridge Forest, and Edaphic and Montane Forest. The forests contain over 3,000 species of flowering plants, many endemic to just the northern part of the Malay Peninsula, including the 3 species of Rafflesia, 46 species of palms (15 endemic), over 30 species of gingers, rare limestone flora and many others.bv6

It has an extraordinary megafauna: 100 mammal species occur, among them almost all the large species of the Malay Peninsula: Malayan Tiger, Malayan Tapir, Asian Elephant, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Gaur, Malayan Sun Bear and Wild Dog. Two are critically endangered: Sumatran Rhinoceros and Malayan Water Shrew. Important salt licks – damp mineral soil areas —attract dense populations of big mammals. It is also an exceptional site for birds; in all, 316 bird species are known so far, in particular all 10 of Malaysia’s magnificent hornbill species, for which it is
probably the world’s richest site. The reptile, amphibian and freshwater fish fauna are equally impressive

INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY

bv4The forests are home to many groups of indigenous people, the Orang Asli especially those from the Jahai and Temiar group. In the Temengor and Belum are, there are nine main Orang Asli village, with about 260 households. The biggest settlement is at Kampung Samlor and Sungai Tekam, two villages that are hardly separable, that contain one fifth of all the households. They settled near the edges of the forest around Temengor Lake, where they have been shifted because of impoundment for the hydro-electric dam in the late 1970s. These forest communities are an integral part of the wilderness, and also form part of the area’s key values.

Royal Belum by Houseboat


Green Man @ Royal Belum State Park


Belum Valley Violin Beetle


If you travel up north to Sungai Kejar in Royal Belum, Belum Valley, one of the commonly found insect at the campsite are the Violin beetle. They are ground beetles in the subfamily of Lebiinae from family of Carabidae and order of Coleoptera. They live between layers of bracket fungi. Ground beetles are a large, cosmopolitan family of beetles, Carabidae, with more than 40,000 species worldwide.

Bracket fungi often grow in semi-circular shapes, looking like shelving growing out of trees or wood. They can be parasitic, saprotrophic, or both. One of the more common genera, Ganoderma, can grow large thick shelves that may contribute to the death of the tree, and then feed off the wood for years after. Their hardiness means they are very resilient and can live for quite a long time, with many species even developing beautiful multi-coloured circles of colour that are actually annual growth rings.

Not so much information available on these Violin Beetles, other than it was found in 1825 and was made as pictures on stamp in several countries. More information of  this Violin Beetle can be found here.

Belum Valley Lantern Bug


Belum Valley is an entomologist’s paradise. One of the commonly found is the Lantern Bug (Lanternaria Candelaria Fulgoridae). The family Fulgoridae is a large group of hemipteran insects, especially abundant and diverse in the tropics, containing over 125 genera worldwide. They are mostly of moderate to large size, many with a superficial resemblance to Lepidoptera due to their brilliant and varied coloration. Various genera and species (especially the genera Fulgora and Laternaria) are sometimes referred to as lantern flies, though they do not emit light.

The head of some species is produced into a hollow process, resembling a snout, which is sometimes inflated and nearly as large as the body of the insect, sometimes elongated, narrow and apically upturned. It was believed, mainly on the authority of Maria Sibylla Merian, that this process, the so-called lantern, was luminous at night. Carl Linnaeus adopted the statement without question and coined a number of specific names, such as laternaria, phosphorea and candelaria to illustrate the supposed fact, and thus aided in promoting a belief which centuries of observations have failed to confirm.

Most common areas where Lantern Bug can be found is surrounding Sungai Enam areas in southern part of Belum Valley.