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Location Malaysia, Perak
Central coordinates 100o 30.00' East  4o 55.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 43,502 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Malaysian Nature Society

Summary The area is in the state of Perak, stretched over four districts. The area is made up mostly of mangrove forest and it represents the largest intact tract of mangrove forest with several semi-permanent lakes in Peninsular Malaysia.

Site description (I) Physical CharacteristicsThe Matang mangroves are a large expanse of mangrove forest (about 51 km of coastline and 13 km wide) stretching from Kuala Gula in the N to Bagan Panchor in the S. It represents the largest intact tract of mangrove forest with several semi-permanent lakes in Peninsular Malaysia and one of the last mangrove areas with all major habitats and forest types. More than 85% of the mangroves are tidal swamp being flooded almost daily to a wash only during the highest spring tides (Gan, 1995; Silvius et al., 1986). Major estuaries are Kuala Gula-Kuala Kelumpang, Kuala Selinsing-Kuala Sangga Besar, Kuala Larut-Kuala Jaha, Kuala Trong and Kuala Jarum Mas with width ranging from 2-4 km. Major rivers transecting Matang are Sungai Gula, Sungai Kelumpang, Sungai Selinsing, Sungai Sangga Besar, Sungai Sepetang, Sungai Jaha, Sungai Terung and Sungai Jarum Mas (Gan, 1995; Zul Mukhshar Bin Dato' Md. Shaari, 2002). The area is also reputed to be the best managed mangroves in the world.(II) Climatic ConditionsMatang mangroves experiences a warm humid climate with rainfall ranges from 2,540-2,794 mm in the mainland reserves and receding to 2,286-2,540 mm in the island reserves and even to 2,032-2,286 mm in the northern coastal section of Pulau Kelumpang and Pulau Gula Forest Reserves. The area experiences two monsoon, the north-east monsoon (October-March) and south-west monsoon (June-September), but do not appear to have much effect on Matang as it is shielded from the full force by Sumatra, Indonesia and Banjaran Titiwangsa in the peninsula (Gan, 1995).

Key Biodiversity The Matang Mangrove Forest Reserves is the most important staging sites for coastal migratory waterbirds and to a certain extent migrant forest birds along the W coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Over 150 species of birds have been recorded in surveys (Siti Hawa Yatim, 1995). In 1985/86, the peak count total of shorebirds numbered about 14,300 birds (Silvius et al., 1986). Current reassessment puts the peak figure at about 27,000 birds (Thompson, 1995). An estimated total of 43,000 to 85,000 individuals may make use of the area during migration (DWNP, 1987; Wells, 1972). The most important feeding and roosting areas for shorebirds are Pantai Panchor (16% of peak count), the southern mudflats of Pulau Pasir Hitam (4%), Sungai Larut estuarine mudflats (13%), Pulau Terong and Stork Lake II (19%), Pulau Kelumpang mudflats (14%), Pulau Kelumpang and Stork Lake I (12%), and Sungai Rubiah lagoon and mudflats (13%). Matang is the last remaining area in Peninsular Malaysia capable of supporting a viable breeding population of the highly threatened Milky Stork Mycteria cinerea (BirdLife International, 2001). The storks have been recorded breeding on two mangrove islands within the reserves, Pulau Kelumpang (also known as Stork Lake I, 255 ha) and Pulau Terong (Stork Lake II, 129 ha) (AWB 1989, Parish, 1985). The population was estimated at about 100 birds (DWNP, 1987) and on a steady decline. Matang is also believed to support 50% of the national population (150-200) of another threatened stork resident, the Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus. The species has also been recorded breeding in the area (Scott, 1989). The Matang mangroves, prior to 1989, supported one of the largest breeding colonies of the Black-crowned Night-herons Nycticorax nycticorax globally, with an estimated 5,000-6,000 nests (Scott, 1989). The whole population of 20,000-40,000, which used to be in Pulau Kelumpang, has moved up 20 km north (Gan, 1995). The near threatened Asian Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus has been recorded in Matang.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Matang mangroves and mudflats are important habitats for several terrestrial and marine mammals (Sabrina M. Shariff, 1984; Siti Hawa Yatim, 1984; Jasmi et al., 1991).(I) Globally threatened mammals (IUCN, 2002): VULNERABLE: Smooth Otter Lutrogale perspicillata; NEAR THREATENED: Long-tailed Macaque Macaca fascicularis, Oriental Small-clawed Otter Amblonyx cinereus, Pangolin Manis javanica; DATA DEFICIENT: Irrawaddy Dolphin Orcaella brevirostris, Bottle-nosed Dolphin Tursiops truncatus(II) Globally threatened reptiles (IUCN, 2002): None.(III) Globally threatened plants (IUCN, 2002): VULNERABLE: Intsia bijuga

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Milky Stork Mycteria cinerea resident  2004  present  A1  Endangered 
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Black-crowned Night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax unknown  2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Masked Finfoot Heliopais personatus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Endangered 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus winter  2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa winter  2004  present  A4i  Near Threatened 
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus winter  2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata winter  2004  present  A4i  Near Threatened 
Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer winter  2004  present  A1  Endangered 


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
nature conservation and research -

Protection status The Matang mangroves are made up of 19 independently gazetted Forest Reserves (108 compartments), which remain as State Government Reserves. It was created by Gazette Notification under the Forest Laws and managed by the State Forest Office, Perak, under the general supervision of the Director General of Forestry, Peninsular Malaysia (Gan, 1995).These reserves include 34,769 ha (80%) of productive forest (for harvesting mangrove timber) and 5,942 ha (20%) of unproductive forest (which are classified under. Virgin Jungle Reserve, Research Forest, Archeological Reserve, Bird Sanctuary (e.g. Kuala Gula), Ecotourism Forest, Educational Forest and Seed Stands). The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) has an established field station in Kuala Gula, Matang.The Matang mangroves has been sustainably managed for wood production since its reservation in 1902. The first working plan was drawn up by D.S.P. Noakes in 1952 for the period 1950-1959. Subsequent revisions were made by R.G. Dixon, Mohd. Darus, Haron Abu Hassan and Gan Boon Keong for the periods 1960-1969, 1970-1979, 1980-1989 and 1990-1999 respectively. The current plan for 2000-2009 is yet to be finalised. These 10-year plans are primarily aimed at supplying quality wood for production of charcoal, firewood and poles on a sustainable yield basis. The plans provide detailed description of the resource, schedules for regulation of yield, harvesting and silvicultural operations, and areas for conservation and protection (Zul Mukhshar Bin Dato' Md. Shaari, 2002).

References AWB. 1989. Malaysia's Milky Storks Breed Again. Asia Wetland News 2(2): 1.BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International.Chong, M.H.N. 1994. Masked Finfoot Heliopais personata in Peninsular Malaysia. OBC Bulletin 30: 28-31.DWNP. 1987. Malaysian Wetland Directory. Peninsular Malaysia: Department of Wildlife and National Parks.Gan, B.K. 1995. A working plan for the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve, Perak (4th Revision). Peninsular Malaysia: State Forestry Department of Perak Darul Ridzuan.Hawkins, A. and Silvius, M. 1986. West Coast Peninsular Malaysia. Interwader Newsletter 7: 5.IUCN. 2002. 2002 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (23 June 2003).Jasmi Abdul, Siti Hawa Yatim and Burhanuddin Mohd Nor. 1991. Kertas cadangan pembangunan projek 'ecotourism' Hutan Paya Bakau Larut-Matang-Kerian. Project proposal submitted to the State Government of Perak Darul Ridzuan in November 1991. Kuala Lumpur, Peninsular Malaysia: Department of Wildlife and National Parks.Lim, K.C. (compiler). 2003d. Recent Sightings. Suara Enggang 4 (July-August): 21-38.Medway, Lord and Nisbet, I.C.T. (compilers). 1965. Bird Report: 1964. Malayan Nature Journal 19: 160-194.Medway, Lord and Nisbet, I.C.T. (compilers). 1967. Bird Report: 1965. Malayan Nature Journal 20: 59-80.Medway, Lord and Nisbet, I.C.T. (compilers). 1968. Bird Report: 1966. Malayan Nature Journal 21: 34-50.Medway, Lord and Wells, D.R. (compilers). 1970. Bird Report: 1968. Malayan Nature Journal 23: 47-77.Medway, Lord, Nisbet, I.C.T. and Wells, D.R. (compilers). 1968. Bird Report: 1967. Malayan Nature Journal 21: 185-200.Noramly, G. 2002. Avifaunal Observations from Matang Forest Reserve, Perak Expedition (October 20-25th, 2002). Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Nature Society-Bird Conservation Council. (Unpublished).Parish, D. 1985. Ground Surveys in Peninsular Malaysia. In Parish, D. and Wells, D.R. (eds.). East Asia/Pacific Shorebird Study Programme. Annual Report 1984. INTERWADER Publication No. 2, pp. 69-78. Kuala Lumpur: INTERWADER.Parish, D. and Wells, D.R. (eds.). 1984. INTERWADER 1983 Report. INTERWADER Publication No. 1, Kuala Lumpur: INTERWADER.Ratnam, L., Jasmi Abdul, Gombek, F. and Siti Hawa Yatim. (1989). Aspects of Demography and Reproduction of the Night Heron at Sungai Burung. In Parish, D. And Prentice, C. (eds.). Wetland and Waterfowl Conservation in Asia. Proceedings of a Conference in Malacca, Malaysia, 23-28 Febraury 1987, pp. 144-149. Asian Wetland Burueau Publication no. 52. Kuala Lumpur: Asian Wetland Bureau/IWRB.Sabrina M. Shariff. 1984. Some Observations on Otters at Kuala Gula, Perak and National Park, Pahang. Journal of Wildlife and Parks 3: 75-88.Scott, D.A. (ed.) 1989. A Directory of Asian Wetlands. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.Silvius, M.J., Chan, H. T. and Shamsudin, I. 1986. Evaluation of Wetlands of the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia and Their Importance for Natural Resource Conservation. Kuala Lumpur: WWF Malaysia.Siti Hawa Yatim. 1984. Survey of mammal and bird species in Tanjung Hantu Forest Reserve Perak, Gunung Machinchang Forest Reserve Pulau Langkawi and Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary, Perak. Journal of Wildlife and Parks 3: 18-36.Siti Hawa Yatim, Azman bin Said and Burhanuddin Mohd. Nor. 1995. Field study on bird population in the Matang mngrove forest reserve. In DWNP. Research on Conservation of Wetland Biodiversity in Tropical Asia. A Field Study Report in Matang Mangrove Forest, Perak, Malaysia and the Iriomote Island, Okinawa, Japan, pp. 74-79. Kuala Lumpur: Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Thompson, J. 1995. Review of shorebird distribution in the Matang forest area, Malaysia. In DWNP. Research on Conservation of Wetland Biodiversity in Tropical Asia. A Field Study Report in Matang Mangrove Forest, Perak, Malaysia and the Iriomote Island, Okinawa, Japan, pp. 89-104. Kuala Lumpur: Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Wells, D.R. (compiler). 1972. Bird Report: 1969. Malayan Nature Journal 25: 43-61.Wells, D.R. (compiler). 1974. Bird Report: 1970 and 1971. Malayan Nature Journal 27: 30-49.Wells, D.R. (compiler). 1975. Bird Report: 1972 and 1973. Malayan Nature Journal 28: 186-213.Wells, D.R. (compiler). 1990. Malayan Bird Report: 1982 and 1983. Malayan Nature Journal 43: 116-147.Wells, D.R. (compiler) 1990b. Malayan Bird Report: 1986 and 1987. Malayan Nature Journal 43: 172-210.Wells, D.R. 1999. The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula. Vol.1. London: Academic Press.Yeap, C.A., Sebastian, A. and Siti Hawa Yatim (compilers) 2003. The Asian Waterbird Census 2003 Country Report (Malaysia). Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Nature Society.Zul Mukhshar Bin Dato' Md. Shaari. 2002. The Management and Conservation of Coastal Zone in Peninsular Malaysia with Special Reference to the Mangroves. KUSTEM 1st Seminar on Sustainability Science and Management: Issues of the Coastal Zone, 6 May 2002, Primula Park Royal Hotel, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu.Yong, D. and Chong, M. (compilers). 1989b. Recent Records. Enggang 2(2): 2-5.Yong, D. and Chong, M. (compilers). 1989d. Recent Records. Enggang 2(4): 2-8.

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