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Location Malaysia, Pahang
Central coordinates 103o 25.00' East  3o 30.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 325,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 76m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Malaysian Nature Society

Summary Situated in the district of Pekan in Pahang. It peat swamp forest complex evists as a single, nearly contagious ecological unit. Most of the peat swam forest are protected as four separate forest reserves.

Site description (I) Physical CharacteristicsThe area consists of a huge expanse of swamp forest involving the Pahang, Pekan, Nenasi, Resak, Rompin and Endau Swamp Forest in south-eastern Pahang State stretching south from Kuantan to the Pahang-Johor border and extending some 40km inland from the coast. The terrain is generally low-lying with occasional hills (DWNP, 1987). Several rivers drain the forests such as Sungai Endau, Sungai Rompin, Sungai Pahang, Sungai Bebar and Sungai Merchong. The lower reaches of the rivers are brackish and acidic in nature in peat areas. There is extensive seasonal flooding between October-January due to the northeast monsoon (DWNP, 1987). SEPPSF complex exists as a single, nearly contagious ecological unit with mosaic of interlinked natural habitat, characterized by both the inland and coastal influenced habitat types. The forest complex in the SEP region forms a broad band stretching from Pekan town southwards following the coast down towards Kuala Rompin. The band is broadest south of Pekan, and narrows considerably past Nenasi. It is broken into three major blocks by the Sg Bebar and Sg Merchong. Within the complex, habitat diversity is very high with PSF being the most prominent ecosystem type. Within these habitat types, there exist highly unique/threatened habitats and among them, the PSF, freshwater swamp forest & heath forest types are of conservation importance.The peat swamps in the lower Pahang basin were once much more extensive, being present both north and south of the Pahang River and stretching towards Kuala Rompin. Now, almost all of the peat swamp to the north, between the river and Kuantan, and south to Kuala Rompin has been lost(II) Climatic ConditionsThe east coast is subjected to the north-east monsoon (October-January), which brings heavy rainfall often with extensive local flooding. Average annual rainfall is 2,000-3,500 mm (DWNP, 1987).

Key Biodiversity The Southeast Pahang swamp forests may be the last remaining suitable area for the Lesser Adjutant to roost and nest (Wells 1999; Howes et al 1986). However, its status and habitat in the area awaits assessment. The swamp forests also contain socio-economic and nature conservation value (Malaysian Wetland Working Group 1986). The area represents the largest intact peat swamp forest in mainland tropical Asia and is also the only significant area of peat swamp forest left intact in the peninsula (Sebastian 1998). It is among the oldest of its habitat type and consequently exhibits a highly developed peat swamp forest in Peninsular Malaysia.Lesser Fish-eagle, Grey-headed Fish-eagle, Great Hornbill

Non-bird biodiversity: A colony of Flying Foxes Pteropus vampyrus may still occur within the swamp forest in Nenasi (Zubaid Akbar et al., 2000). The colony may be one of the largest remaining in the peninsula. Durio carinatus, which is endemic to the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia can also be found in the area.(I) Globally threatened mammals (IUCN, 2002): ENDANGERED: Tiger Panthera tigris, Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Otter-Civet Cynogale bennetti; DATA DEFICIENT: Hairy-nosed Otter Lutra sumatrana, Malayan Sun Bear Helarctos malayanus(II) Globally threatened reptiles (IUCN, 2002): CRITICAL: Painted Terrapin Callagur borneoensis; VULNERABLE: Asiatic Softshell Turtle Amyda cartilaginea(III) Globally threatened plants (IUCN, 2002): VULNERABLE: Gonystylus bancanusSpecies restricted to peat-swampsCommercial timber speciesGonystylus bancanus (Ramin; restricted to peat swamps; commercial timber) - classified as VU by the World Conservation Monitoring CentreDurio carinatus (Durian paya; restricted to peat swamps; commercial timber; also an important food resource within the peat swamp habitat for a wide range of frugivores, e.g., hornbills, tigers, gibbons)Tetramerista glabra (Punah; restricted to peat swamps; commercial timber; also an important food resource within the peat swamp habitat for a wide range of frugivores)Blackwater fish specialistsFrom the preliminary analysis of the fish fauna, 70% of the blackwater fish of Peninsular Malaysia occur in SEPPSF.Frog speciesPSF restricted species: Psuedobufo subasper and Rana baramica (in the Peninsula)b. Species endemic to SEPPSFBeta wasseri (an endemic fighting fish; occurs in shallow pools within the peat swamp forest)Betta tussyae (another endemic fighting fish; occurs in shallow pools within the peat swamp forest)Parosphromenus nagyi (Gouramies; occurs in shallow pools within the peat swamp forest adjacent to rivers)c. Other Species of SignificanceGlobally significant Flat-headed cat (fish-eating cat, riverine specialist, characteristic of peat-swamps) and otter species.Globally-threatened large mammals: leopards, bears, tigers; bearded pigs.Malayan Flying Fox. Both presence and roost have been clearly documented within SEPPSF Presence of viable population of False Gharial, Tomistoma schlegelli - listed as EN by the IUCN.Presence of viable population of 8 species of turtles and terrapins - listed in the IUCN and CITES lists.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Storm's Stork Ciconia stormi resident  2004  present  A1  Endangered 
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 
Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Pekan-Nenasi Road Forest Reserve 113 protected area contained by site 113  


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

Land use

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

Protection status The swamp forests of Pahang, Pekan, Nenasi, Resak, Rompin and Endau are classified as Forest Reserves (DWNP, 1987). About 87,000 ha of PSF cover in the SEP region is protected as PFEs; broken into 4 separate FRs - Pekan, Nenasi, Kedondong and Resak. The rest are all stateland forests, rivers and riverine areas.

References DWNP. 1987. Malaysian Wetland Directory. Peninsular Malaysia: Department of Wildlife and National Parks.Pons, L.J., Prentice, C. and Aikanathan, S. 1989. A preliminary assessment of some peat and freshwater swamp areas in South-eastern Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia, in relation to their optimal use. Asian Wetland Bureau Publication No. 31. Kuala Lumpur: IPT Asian Wetland Bureau.Howes, J.R., Hawkins, A.F.A. and Parish, D. 1986. Preliminary survey of wetlands and shorebirds along the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Interwader Publication No. 14.IUCN. 2002. 2002 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (23 June 2003).MWWG. 1986. Malaysian Wetland Inventory: The Value of Malaysian Wetlands and their Role in National Development. Special Report to the Minister of Science, Technology and the Environment. Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Peninsular Malaysia.Sebastian, A. 1999. 1997-1998 Records of Globally Threatened Species from Peat Swamp Forest in Malaysia. Suara Enggang 1: 17-18.Sebastian, A.C. 1998. Preliminary ecological assessment of the Southeast Pahang peat swamp forest, Pahang, Malaysia. Sarawak: Aonyx Environmental Services. (Internal report).Wells, D.R. 1999. The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula (Volume One: Non-passerines). San Diego: Academic Press.Wetlands International. 2003. Draft Final Report - Multi-disciplinary Assessment (MDA) of SEPPSF. UNDP/GEF Funded PSF Project MAL/99/G31: Conservation and Sustainable Use of Tropical Peat Swamp Forests and Associated Wetland Ecosystems.Zubaid Akbar, Mohd. Azlan Jayasilan Abdul Gulam Azad and Kunz, T.H. 2000. Abundance and Roosting Ecology of the Malayan Flying Fox, Pteropus vampyrus in Peninsular Malaysia. (Unpublished).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: South-East Pahang peat swamp forest. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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