Home |

 


Flora and Fauna

The flora - 'the secrets behind the lush green forest cover'

Maliau Basin Conservation Area encompasses a diverse assemblage of forest types, comprising mainly of lower montane forest, rare montane heath forest and lowland and hill dipterocarp forest. Dominated by majestic Agathis trees, the lower montane forest, which also contains oaks, laurels and conifers such as Dacrydium species, grades into mossy cloud forest on the northern rim.

Dipteris fern along the river banks

A big Agathis tree

A distinctive feature of the lower montane forest are the many Dipteris ferns, lining the river banks. The water here is tea-coloured and acidic, due to the tannins leaching out of the peaty leaf litter.

The stunted montane heath forest occurs on flatter areas of the Basin on nutrient poor, acidic soils. Ant plants, rhododendrons and pitcher plants are common. Dipterocarp forest is found mostly on the Basin’s outer flanks and in the interior valley bottoms, and is rich in fruit trees.

Over 1800 species of plant have so far been identified, including six species of pitcher plant and at least 80 kinds of orchid, several of which are new records for Sabah. The rare Rafflesia tengku-adlinii has also been found in Maliau Basin, one of only two known localities in Sabah, the other being near Trus Madi.



Dipterocarp
forest is found mostly on the Basin’s outer flanks and in the interior valley bottoms, and is rich in fruit trees.


Over 1800 species of plant have so far been identified, including six species of pitcher plant and at least 80 kinds of orchid, several of which are new records for Sabah. The rare Rafflesia tengku-adlinii has also been found in Maliau Basin, one of only two known localities in Sabah, the other being near Trus Madi.

Rafflesia tengku-adlinii

 

Rhododendron sp.

 

Nepenthes veitchii

New plant records for Sabah include:

• Dacrydium elatum (a Podocarpus tree)
• Mangifera bullata (a Mango tree and a new record for Borneo)
• Rafflesia tengku-adlinii (one of only two known localities in Sabah)
• Nephelaphyllum trapoides (orchid)
• Bulbophyllum limbatum (orchid)
• Nepenthes veitchii x stenophylla (pitcher plant hybrid)
• Nepenthes hirsuta (pitcher plant)

and at least two species new to science, a tree, Polyosmo maliauensis and a moss, Trismegistia maliauensis.

The fauna - 'wildlife in the virgin forest'

Although much of the terrain remains to be explored, Maliau Basin Conservation Area has already revealed itself to be the home of some of Sabah’s most rare and endangered species, including the Asian Elephant, Orang Utan and Proboscis Monkey.

Bornean pygmy elephant

 

Banteng (Bos javanicus)


Others among the 82 mammal species so far confirmed include Clouded Leopard and Malayan Sunbear, while on the fringes of the Conservation Area, Banteng (tembadau) and the elusive Bay Cat have been seen.

An impressive list comprising almost 300 bird species has been recorded, including Bulwer’s Pheasant, Giant Pitta, Bathawk, Bornean Bristlehead and eight species of hornbills, together with several rare montane species, others found only on Mount Kinabalu and Trus Madi.
 

Male Bulwer’s Pheasant

While the acidic waters of Maliau Basin are proving to support relatively few fish species, more than 30 species of amphibian have been found, including a frog which makes its home in pitcher plants!

Frog at top of pitcher plants

 

Species completely new to science that have been discovered in Maliau include a fish, Betta gladiator, a crab, Thelphusula hulu and a water beetle, Neptosternus thiambooni.