Taman Negara National Park

Site description (2003 baseline):

Site location and context
(I) Physical CharacteristicsTaman Negara National Park is Peninsular Malaysia's single largest protected area located in the central regions of the peninsula. It is also the only inter-State protected area involving the Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan State. About 57% of Taman Negara lies in Pahang, 24% in Kelantan and 19% in Terengganu. The national park is located in the headwaters of the Tembeling, Relai-Aring-Lebir and Trenggan river system. Most of the area within the national park lies below 305 m asl (57.6%). Several mountains are located within the national park namely Gunung Tahan (2,187 m asl), peninsula's highest, Gunung Perlis (1,284 m asl), Gunung Gagau (1,377 m asl), Gunung Rabong (1,538 m asl) and Gunung Mandi Angin (1,460 m asl). Most of Taman Negara lies on sedimentary rocks, predominantly sandstones and shale. Limestone outcrops occur at scattered locations, and Gua Peningat (723 m asl) is the highest and one of the largest in the country. However, it lacks high altitude granite (Anon., 1952; Anon., 1971a; Anon., 1971b). The national park has one of the oldest and pristine vegetation in Malaysia and is reputed to be the oldest rainforests in the world. It is also one of the ten most endangered places in Malaysia (MNS, 1974; Kiew et al., 1985; Latiff, 1996; Medway, 1971; MOCAT, 1997; Kawanishi et al., 1999).(II) Climatic ConditionsThe national park experiences both the north-east and south-west monsoon. The highest rainfall occurs in October-November (312 mm) and lowest in March (50 mm). Heavy rainfall dominate the period between December-February, resulting in flooding large tracts of the rainforest. Temperature ranges between 25-37oC and humidity high (>80%). However, on the mountain peaks and ranges, conditions are cool and sunny and cold on peaks at night (Bowden, 2001; DWNP, 1987).

Key biodiversity
Taman Negara is well known for its avifaunal diversity. Over 254 bird species has been recorded. Of these, 24% occur in montane forest or strictly confined to hills in lowland forest whilst the rest are in the lowland forests. Taman Negara, inarguably, is the best IBA site for the Biome-restricted Assemblages species (1 Endangered, 7 Vulnerable, 61 Near Threatened) and is crucial for the remaining population of the globally threatened Storm's Stork, endemic Mountain Peacock-pheasant and Malaysian Peacock-pheasant (Davison, 1982; Wells, 1971, 1990d). Other Near Threatened species that occurs in the national park include the Lesser Fish-Eagle Ichthyophaga hunilis, Grey-headed Fish-Eagle I. ichthyaetus, Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis and Japanese Paradise-Flycatcher Tersiphone atrocaudata.

Non-bird biodiversity: Plants exhibit tremendous diversity as in Taman Negara (Clarke, 2002; Latiff, 1996; Ng, 1978, 1989; Soepadmo, 1971). It may house more than 30% of 8000 species of flowering plants known in the peninsula. Families such as Dipterocarpaceae, Moraceae, Orchidaceae, Fabaceae, Rubiaceae, Euphorbiaceae and Annonaceae are well represented in the national park. Plant endemism is also high. Some 14 endemic tree species has been documented in the park such as Diospyros adenophora (Ebenaceae), Elaeocarpus floribundus (Elaeocarpaceae), Ficus oreophila (Moraceae), Horsfieldia tomentosa (Myristiceae), Podocarpus montana (Podocarpaceae) and Grewia laurifolia (Tiliaceae) (Ng, 1990). Other non-tree endemics include Sarcochilus minutiflorus (Orhidaceae), Didymocarpus flavobrunnea, D. pyrolifolia (Gesneriaceae) and Begonia herveyana var. robusta. Among the rare plants that can be found include Brugmansia lowii (Rafflesiaceae), Sarcochilus biserratus, S. tjiladapensis and Trichopus malayanus (Dioscoreaceae) (Kiew and Chin, 1982). The national park is an important gene pool of major cultivated plants (Ho, 1971).The national park has more than 120 species of mammals, 67 snakes, 55 frogs and 109 freshwater fishes (Jasmi bin Abdul, 1996; Mohd. Zakaria-Ismail, 1984; Sabrina M. Shariff, 1984; Kawanishi et al., 1999; Stòwe et al., 1998). It offers one of the best protection for large mammals in the peninsula due to the presence of various saltlicks in the area (Mohd. Khan bin Momin Khan, 1971; WWF, 2002a, 2002b). Cave systems within Taman Negara such as Gua Daun Menari and Gua Telinga are known to house large populations of bats (Davison, 1995; Yeap, 2000).(I) Globally threatened mammals (IUCN, 2002): CRITICAL: Sumatran Rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis; ENDANGERED: South-east Asian White-toothed Shrew Crocidura fuliginosa, Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Tiger Panthera tigris, Malayan Tapir Tapirus indicus; VULNERABLE: Common Porcupine Hystrix brachyura, Pig-tailed Macaque Macaca nemestrina, Gaur Bos gaurus, Dhole Cuon alpinus, Serow Capricornis sumatraensis; NEAR THREATENED: Smoky Flying Squirrel Pteromyscus pulverulentus, Oriental Small-clawed Otter Amblonyx cinereus, Long-tailed Macaque M. fascicularis, Banded Leaf-Monkey Presbytis melalophos, White-handed Gibbon Hylobates lar; DATA DEFICIENT: Malayan Sun Bear Helarctos malayanus(II) Globally threatened reptiles (IUCN, 2002): CRITICAL: Striped Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle Chitra chitra; ENDANGERED: Spiny Turtle Heosemys spinosa, Asian Brown Tortoise Manouria emys; VULNERABLE: Asiatic Softshell Turtle Amyda cartilaginea, Malayan Flat-shelled Turtle Notochelys platynota; NEAR THREATENED: Asian Leaf Turtle Cyclemys dentata(III) Globally threatened plants (IUCN, 2002): CRITICAL: Dipterocarpus grandiflorus, D. baudii; ENDANGERED: Dacrydium comosum, Nepenthes gracillima, Mangifera superba, Anisoptera laevis, Shorea leprosula, S. ovata; VULNERABLE: Adinandra corneriana, Beilschmiedia membranacea, Brassaiopsis minor, Bridelia whitmorei, Eugenia cyrtophylloides, Garcinia clusiaefolia, Kokoona sessilis, Lithocarpus curtisii, Agathis flavescens, A. dammara, Lithocarpus erythrocarpus, L. kunstleri, Mangifera macrocarpa, M. pentandra, Nepenthes macfarlanei; LOWER RISK/conservation dependent: Acronychia porteri, Adinandra angulata, Cyathocalyx scortechinii, Dacryodes kingii, Elaeocarpus cruciatus, Elaeocarpus pseudopaniculatus, E. reticosus, E. symingtonii, Eugenia pahangensis, Eugenia pseudoclaviflora, E. tahanensis, E. tekuensis, Glycosmic decipiens, Heliciopsis whitmorei, Koompassi excelsa, Macaranga quadricornis, Symplocos pyriflora, Tabernaemontana polyneura, Terminthodia viridiflora, Tetractomia majus, Pentace excelsa, P. grandiflora, Pyrenaria pahangensis, Ryparosa scortechinii, Palaquium regina-montium, Lithocarpus kingianus, L. kunstleri, Livistona tahanensis, Hydnocarpus cucurbitina, Ilex illustris, I. patens, I. tahanensis, Knema oblongifolia, Nepenthes sanguinea; NEAR THREATENED: Carallia euryoides, Castanopsis curtisii, Saurauia rubens, Rapanea perakensis, Madhuca tomentosa, Hydnocarpus nana, Dialum cochinchinense; DATA DEFICIENT: Aquilaria rostrata, Podocarpus deflexus, Oshanostachys amentacea

Habitat and land use
Soepadmo (1971) provides a botanical account of the vegetation from Kuala Tahan to the summit of Gunung Tahan. Seven major vegetation types and five sub-types were recognised by the author.Undulating lowland dipterocarp forest (Kuala Tahan - Sungai Melantai)The trees in this forest type is dominated by the family Dipterocarpaceae (Anisoptera spp., Dipterocarpus spp., Shorea spp.). Other tall large trees included Diospyros sp., Lithocarpus wallichianus, L. cantleyanus, L. encleisacarpus, Castanopsis inermis, C. lucida, Paranephelium sp., Canarium littorale, Payena sp., Ochanostachys amentacea, Knema spp. and Myristica spp. and several species of Eugenia. The small-sized tree and shrub community consists of many species of Euphorbiaceae, Annonaceae, Rubiaceae, Memecylon spp., Helicia spp., Eugenia spp., Garcinia spp., and Gironniera parvifolia. The undergrowth consists of plants from the families of Araceae, Zingiberaceae (Costus, Zingiber), Maranthaceae (Donax), Gesneriaceae (Didymocarpus malayanus) and saplings of large trees.Undulating hill dipterocarp forest (Sungai Melantai - Sungai Teku)This forest type is dominated by Anisoptera laevis, Dipterocarpus grandiflorus, D. baudii, Shorea leprosula, Garcinia spp., Calophyllum spp., Eugenia spp., Castanopsis inermis, C. lucida, Lithocarpus wallichianus and L. cantleyanus. Koompassia malaccensis and Parkia sp. are evident especially within the valleys and near the streams between ridges. On the ridges, trees of the conifer Agathis dammara are seen mixed with Eugenia sp. and Calophyllum sp. Noticeable shrubs include Agrostistachys longifolia, Gironniera parvifolia, several species of Annonaceae and palms (Licuala spp., Johannesteijsmannia altifrons, Pinanga spp.).Riparian vegetation (along Sungai Tahan and Sungai Teku)The riparian vegetation can further be divided into two types;(I)Medium-sized tree communityTristania whiteana, Dipterocarpus oblongifolius, Lithocarpus wallichianus, Castanopsis inermis and Nauclea sp. are amongst the common trees found in this community. Woody climbers (Bauhinia, Entada, Mucuna) and epiphytes (orchids, ferns) are also found in abundance.(II)Rheophytic vegetationThis plant community exists on the rocky river banks, characterised by their shrubby appearance, narrow and pointed leaves, tough stems and branches, and strong anchorage. The community consists chiefly of Antidesma salicinum, Eugenia sp., Ixora stenophylla, Aglaia salicifolia, Dysoxylum antigustifolium, Calophyllum rupicolum, Dipteris lobbiana and Gomphandra cf. lanceolata.Lower montane forest (Kuala Teku - Wray's Camp)Between Kuala Teku and Wray's Camp, the forest is rich in Fagaceae, Myrtaceae and Guttiferae species. Dipterocarps such as Shorea curtisii and S. ovata still dominate but individual numbers decreased markedly. Among the Fagaceae found here are Castanopsis javanica, C. lucida, Lithocarpus erythropcarpus, L. kunstleri, L. cantleyanus, L. wallichianus, L. cyclophorus, Quercus gemelliflora, Q. nivea and Q. subsericea. The ground flora is composed mainly of gingers, aroids, ferns and Selaginella sp.. Palm flora richness is also evident and among the common species are Eugeissona brachystachys, Pinanga sp., Licuala sp. and Johannesteijesmannia altifrons. At around Wray's Camp, the upper montane forest replaces the lower montane forest. Medium-sized trees such as Dacrydium elatum, Eugenia spp., Garcinia spp., Lithocarpus rassa, Baccaurea bracteata and Elaeocarpus sp. are found. At the understorey, shrubs and herbaceous undergrowth are plentiful. Mosses proliferate especially on wetter grounds.Upper montane ericaceous forest (Wray's Camp - Tangga Dua Belas)The forest is dominated by shrubby looking trees of Leptospermum flavescens and Dacrydium beccarii. Other common shrubs include Podocarpus falciforme, Rhododendron spp., Vaccinium spp., Pentaphylax euryoides, Styphelia malayana, Symplocos pulcherrima, Weinmannia blumei, Austrobuxus nitidus, Ilex sp., Gordonia sp. and Ternstroemia sp. The endemic Livistona tahanensis is very common especially on the slopes of these ridges. The ground is covered with herbaceous plants such as orchids, ferns (Matonia, Dipteris), Lycopodium spp., Selaginella spp., Nepenthes spp., and on wetter ground are Pentaphragma, Burmannia and several sedges.Gully vegetation (Tangga Dua Belas - south-eastern part of Gunung Gedong)The vegetation here is of medium height and its appearance is reminiscent of a slightly dwarfed upper montane forest. Recognisable trees include Agathis flavescens, Eugenia spp., Garcinia spp., Schima wallichii, and Polyosma. Mosses, ferns and orchids carpet the base of the trees and shrubs. The herbaceous Pentaphragma aurantiaca, Didymocarpus spp., Burmannia spp., Nepenthes spp., Hedyotis and Phyllangathis can be found on the undergrowth.Heath and summit vegetation This vegetation extends from the south-east shoulder of Gunung Gedong westwards and northwestwards to the Teku Gorge and northwards and northeastwards to the summit of Gunung Gedong and Gunung Tahan itself. The vegetation here grow mainly on bare rocks, ranging from 5000-7186 feet in elevation. The heath vegetation can be further divided into three distinct communities, namely dwarf shrubby vegetation on bare rocks, shrubby vegetation on elevated hillocks or ridges and vegetation along the streams.(i)Dwarf shrubby vegetation on bare rock. All the woody plants are dwarfed to 1-2 feet and exhibit strong xerophytic traits, which grows on soilless rocks. Common plants here include Dacrydium beccarii, the endemic Podocarpus deflexus mixed with Leptospermum flavescens, Baeckia frutescens, Styphelia malayana, Pentaphylax euryoides, Rhodoleia ovalifolia, Olea capitellata, Terminthodia viridifolia, Euodia simplicifolia, Tristania merguensis, Eugenia stapfeana, E. tahanensis, E. pahangensis and Ilex spp. Several species of orchids, pither plants, sedges, ferns and lycopods are also evident.(ii)Shrubby vegetation on elevated hillocks or ridges. This plant community occurs between the southeast shoulder of Gunung Gedong and the camp site, and the northeast slopes of Gunung Gedong and the summit area of Gunung Tahan. The vegetation here grows on the ground covered with a thin layer of peaty soil. Common plants here include rhododendrons, vacciniums, Rhodoleia ovalifolia, Elaeocarpus spp., Eriobotrya bengalensis, Polyosma sp., Weinmannia blumei, Dacrydium beccarii, Carallia montana, Litsea sp., Schima wallichii and Pandanus klossii. Mossess, ferns and orchids are plentiful on the grounds, tree trunks and branches.(iii)Vegetation along the streams. The plant community here grows on the sheltered parts of the heath on thick peaty soils and near water. The ground is covered with mosses, ferns, orchids and other herbaceous plants. Medium-sized trees found here include Agathis flavescens, Podocarpus deflexus, Dacrydium falciformae, Schima wallichii and Ilex patens.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Since its creation and its official gazettement as a national park, Taman Negara has and continued to face constant pressure from both internal and external. Several of these threats, past and present, are listed below;{1971, a proposal to build a hydro-electric dam in the Ulu Tembeling area within Taman Negara was proposed but shelved indefinitely (Gurmit Singh, 1983). It was, however, revived in the early 1980s. The Tembeling hydro-electric dam project would flood seven and a half percent of Taman Negara. Due to strong pressure by the environmental organizations and Malaysian public, the project was later abandoned by the Malaysian Federal Government (Sunday Star, 1983).{and rural development is rapidly developing adjacent to Taman Negara's border.{as a premier ecotourism attraction, a steady increase of visitors yearly is visible. This trend has resulted in tourism-related problems such as an increase in noise pollution, possible deteriorating water quality and river siltation in several major rivers due to high conductivity and other forms of human disturbances (Jasmi Abdul, 1997; Mushrifah et al., 1994). These signs suggest that the carrying capacity of certain tourism sites within Taman Negara may have been exceeded.{of a clear buffer zone has resulted in the expansion of development especially for cash crop cultivation and exposing the park to more frequent instances of illegal encroachment and poaching (Jasmi Abdul, 1997).

Protected areas
Historically, parts of the area were designated as 'The Gunung Tahan Game Reserve' in 1925 by the Pahang State. Cooperation with neighbouring States of Terengganu and Kelantan in 1939 resulted in an interstate park called the King George V National Park then which was later became Taman Negara after Malaysia's Independence (Burkill, 1971). The purpose of the park remains to utilize the land within the park 'in perpetuity, for the propagation, protection, and preservation of the indiginous flora and fauna......'.Taman Negara is gazetted as a national park under the National Parks Act 1980. However, each of the three States have its own legislation in the gazettement as well such as the Enactment of Taman Negara Terengganu No. 6 (1938) and Taman Negara Kelantan State Enactment No.14 (1938). The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), Peninsular Malaysia administers Taman Negara National Park in accordance to the Taman Negara Master Plan 1987 (Ahmad Samsuddin Haji Shaari, 2000). The national park is fully protected and no commercial exploitation is permitted. However, exceptions are given to the local aborigines to hunt and gather for personal usage. A Board of Trustees is made up of the Federal King and three State rulers. Taman Negara Council is made up of representatives from the Forestry Department (Peninsular Malaysia), WWFM, MNS and the local universities, which takes responsibility in advising the DWNP in the management of the park (Anon., 1996).Despite its importance nationally, Taman Negara National Park does not have a buffer zone. An attempt to lobby the establishment of a buffer zone in 1990 was unsuccessful due to the lack of support from stakeholder states (Ahmad Samsuddin Haji Shaari, 2000). Internationally, Taman Negara National Park is recognised as an IUCN Category II protected area.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Taman Negara National Park. Downloaded from on 25/09/2023.