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Location Malaysia, Perak
Central coordinates 101o 30.00' East  5o 39.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 283,037 ha
Altitude 130 - 1,533m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Malaysian Nature Society

Summary Located in the state of Perak, Belum-Temengor is 130 million years old and is said to be the oldest rainforest in the world. The Belum complex has been gazetted. Currently, the Malaysian Nature Society is working to get the Temengor complex to be gazetted to.

Site description (I) Physical CharacteristicsThe Belum area encompasses Belum Forest Reserve (134,167 ha), Grik Forest Reserve (37,220 ha) and Temengor Forest Reserve (148,870 ha) with the dendritic Temengor Lake as its focal point. Temengor Lake is the result of the damming of several rivers for the purpose of irrigation, water catchment and hydro-electic. The major river is Sungai Belum, which flows generally south-southwest and is joined with Sungai Temengor from the south (Davison, 1995a; Jabatan Mergastua, 1975). The East-West Highway also cuts across two of the reserves.Within the general area of Belum, the lowest lying points in the southwest are at about 130 m asl. The ground rises unevenly to about 1,000-1,400 m asl along the watershed forming the Perak-Kelantan State border in the east, and reaches high points of 1,533 m asl at Gunung Ulu Titi Basah, and 1,450 m asl at Gunung Ulu Merah along the Perak-Thailand border to the north. The slopes are generally steep, with some exposures of shale and granitic bedrocks (Davison et al., 1995). The area is also a part of the Banjaran Tittiwangsa (or Main Range), Peninsular Malaysia's backbone. The range is dated to be around 220 million years old, making it among the oldest rock formations found throughout Malaysia (Bourke, 2000). The peaks of the Main Range are demarcated by a north-south band of granite and Permian sedimentary rocks with some associated tuff and lava. From east to west, there follow a series of parallel broad north-south bands, of Silurian sedimentary rocks with associated tuff and lava, of undifferentiated granite, and then a wide expanse of Silurian sediments that extends far to the west and in which are embedded fragments of subterranean limestone (Geological Survey Malaysia, 1994). An interesting feature of Belum and in fact the whole Sungai Perak valley down to Lenggong, is the presence of salt licks, damp mineral soil areas which attract dense populations of big mammals. (II) Climatic ConditionsRainfall averages between 2,160-2,250 mm annually, and is heaviest at higher elevations.The wettest period in the area are from April-May and September-November with a peak in October while the driest period is in February (Tunku M. Nazim Yaacob et al., n.d.).

Key Biodiversity The Belum area is one of the most important and largest IBA site in the northern part of the peninsula for biome-restricted assemblages species and particularly the Plain-pouched Hornbills Aceros subruficollis (globally threatened species) and other hornbill species. Incidently, the occurrence of the Plain-pouched Hornbills is a first for Malaysia. Mass movements of hornbills have been recorded (Ho and Supari, 1993, 1997, 2000) and the forests may support the world's greatest concentration of hornbills (Hymeir, 2000). Overall, Belum is one of the most biologically diverse area after Taman Negara and Krau in the peninsula therefore having major conservation significance nationally and internationally. Furthermore, the flora and fauna of Belum has northern elements which is not present in protected areas such as Taman Negara, Krau and Endau-Rompin.Near Threatened: Great Hornbill (Lim, 2003b; Sutari bin Supari, 1994), Lesser Fish-eagle Ichthyophaga humilis (3rd Belum xpdc), Grey-headed Fish-eagle I. ichthyaetus (Lower Belum xpdc) (Lim, 2003b)

Non-bird biodiversity: Prior to the expeditions in 1993-94 and 1998, Stevens (1968) documented the presence of large mammals in the area. Birch (1909) reported the Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris), Sambar Deer (Cervus unicolor), White-handed Gibbon (Hylobates lar), Siamang (H. syndactylus), Wild Dog (Cuon alpinus), Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus), Great Argus (Argusianus argus) and Helmeted Hornbill (Buceros vigil). An intensive survey by Ridley (1910) recorded 590 species of flowering plants, 66 ferns, 126 birds and 20 of mammals in the area from Lenggong northwards but concentrated mainly at Kuala Temengor.More findings were revealed (with more than 30 scientific projects) from the two expeditions led by the Malaysian Nature Society in 1993-94 and 1998 in which a high level of biodiversity was discovered. Many rarities, new records, endemics and new species of flora and fauna were discovered.{species of gymnosperms and flowering plants (excluding gingers and orchids) from 193 genera and 67 families. Endemics include Amischotolype monosperma and a rare Murdannia japonica (Commelinaccae).{species of wild ginger. A species of Etlingera, which has yet to be identified may prove to be either a new record for the peninsula or new to science.{species of ferns and fern allies belonging to 26 families were collected and recorded. {specimens of mosses from 62 species and 5 varieties in 34 genera and 19 families were collected.{species of edible fruit trees.{terrestrial and 7 freshwater molluscs were found.{species of freshwater decapod crustaceans were reported.{species of aquatic and semi-aquatic bugs were collected.{species of odonates, 95 leaf-beetles, a new aquatic fly and 252 smaller moths recorded.{species of freshwater fishes were collected.{species of mammals belonging to 10 orders and 22 families were recorded.{least 274 species of birds were recorded.{species of amphibians, 21 lizards, 23 snakes and 7 freshwater and land turtles were recorded.Important refuge for rhino (WWF 2002a) and tiger (WWF 2002b)(I) Globally threatened mammals (IUCN, 2002): CRITICAL: Sumatran Rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis, Himalayan Water Shrew Chimarrogale himalayica; ENDANGERED: Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Gaur Bos gaurus, , Malayan Tapir Tapirus indicus, Tiger Panthera tigris, South-east Asian White-toothed Shrew Crocidura fuliginosa; VULNERABLE: Golden Cat Catopuma temminckii, Pig-tailed Macaque Macaca nemestrina, Dhole Cuon alpinus, Common Porcupine Hystrix brachyura, Smooth Otter Lutrogale perspicillata; NEAR THREATENED: Dayak Fruit Bat Dyacopterus spadiceus, Schreibers' Bat Miniopterus schreibersi, Bronzed Tube-nosed Bat Murina aenea, Least Forest Bat Kerivoula minuta, Hairy-winged Bat Harpiocephalus mordax, Burmese Whiskered Bat Myotis montivagus, Ridley's Bat Myotis ridleyi, Hairless Bat Cheiromeles torquatus, Long-tailed Macaque M. fascicularis, Banded Leaf-Monkey Presbytis melalophos, White-handed Gibbon Hylobates lar, Agile Gibbon H. agilis, Siamang Symphalangus syndactylus, Pangolin Manis javanica; DATA DEFICIENT: Malayan Sun Bear Helarctos malayanus(II) Globally threatened reptiles (IUCN, 2002): ENDANGERED: Asian Brown Tortoise Manouria emys, Spiny Turtle Heosemys spinosa; VULNERABLE: Asiatic Softshell Turtle Amyda cartilaginea, Malayan Flat-shelled Turtle Notochelys platynota, Asian Box Turtle Cuora amboinensis; NEAR THREATENED: Asian Leaf Turtle Cyclemys dentata(III) Globally threatened plants (IUCN, 2002): CRITICAL: Dipterocarpus kunstleri; ENDANGERED: Shorea leprosula, S. ovata; VULNERABLE: Litsea gracilis, Nephelium costatum, Aquilaria malaccensis; LOWER RISK/conservation dependent: Litsea hirsutissima, Pseuduvaria taipingensis, Koompassia excelsa, K. malaccensis

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Wallace's Hawk-eagle Nisaetus nanus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Masked Finfoot Heliopais personatus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Endangered 
Large Green-pigeon Treron capellei resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Short-toed Coucal Centropus rectunguis resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Alcedo euryzona resident  2004  present  A1  Not Recognised 
Plain-pouched Hornbill Rhyticeros subruficollis resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2013 very high not assessed low

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - unintentional effects (species is not the target) likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration very high
Natural system modifications other ecosystem modifications happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Some of site covered (10-49%)  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  low 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   -

Protection status The Belum forests consist of Earlier in the century, an intensive survey was carried out in Temengor by H.N. Ridley, H.C. Robinson and C.B. Kloss (Ridley, 1910). Belum was once proposed as a National Park or protected area by Stevens in 1968. Belum was formerly a refuge ('hot spot') for the Communist during and post- Second World War in then Malaya. However, despite the difficult security situation, the Malaysian Government tried to improve the living conditions of the villages along Sungai Belum by embarking on a combination of physical and economic development in the 1970s. The main features of the strategy were the construction of the East-West Highway linking Grik in Perak State to Jeli in Kelantan State, and of the Temengor Dam at Kuala Temengor.The Temengor Dam, a hydroelectric dam, was completed in 1978 and the flooded area covered a portion of the land that had been proposed by Stevens (1968) as the Belum Wildlife Reserve and also a portion of his proposed Grik Wildlife Reserve. After the Communist Party of Malaya disbanded in 1989, the three forest reserves were gazetted. However, it excludes a strip of forest extending 1.5 km on each side of the Highway, which remains as Stateland (Davison et al., 1995).The interest of the Perak State Government was stirred after the expeditions and commitments were made to gazette Belum as a State Park. Currently, the State Government is looking into ways to fully gazette the area as a State Park. Belum has also been identified as having the potential to be an ecotourism destination (MOCAT, 1996).Royal Belum

References Ahmad Damanhuri. 2000. Mosses of Belum Forest Reserve, Perak, Peninsular Malaysia. Malayan Nature Journal 54(3): 211-222.Birch, E.W. 1909. My trip to Belum. Journal of the Straits Branch Royal Asiatic Society 54: 117-135.Bourke, W.M. 2000. Escape to the Great Outdoors of West Malaysia. Malaysia: High Adventure Publishing Sdn Bhd.Chan, K.S. (compiler). 2003. Belum Forest Reserve Bird Checklist. (Unpublished).Dòrhammer, O. and Schfer-Verwimp, A. 1995. Some bryophytes of Temengor Forest Reserve, Hulu Perak, Malaysia. Malayan Nature Journal 48(3&4): 157-158.Davison, G.W.H. 1995a. Belum: A Rainforest in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Nature Society.Davison, G.W.H. (ed.). 1995b. The Birds of Temengor Forest Reserve, Hulu Perak, Malaysia. Malaysian Nature Journal 48 (3&4): 371-386.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Belum-Temenggor. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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