(I) Physical CharacteristicsThe Crocker Range Park is a giant backbone of ridges that stretches down the west coast from Gunung Kinabalu's granite peaks, across the gorge of Sungai Padas and down into the swamp forest of the Sarawak border. The park is the largest single totally protected area in Sabah. Geologically, the range is made up of uplifted and folded sedimentary rocks consisted of weathered soft sandstones and shales. The highest point is Gunung Alab (1,964 m asl), located just outside the park. Most of the park boundary lies above 300 m asl, and the lowlands are used for smallholder plantations, cash crops and ricefields. The Tambunan valley (800 m asl), east of the range, are terraced with ricefields and groves of bamboos border the north-eastern part of the park (Phillipps, 1988; WWFM, 1998).The park is also important as a water catchment area and to supply water to the west coast and interior districts of Sabah (Murtedza Mohamed, 2001). Sungai Papar, Sungai Kimanis, Sungai Bongawan, Sungai Membakut, Sungai Padas and Sungai Melalap flow west to the park while the Sungai Pegalan, Sungai Pampang, Sungai Apin-Apin, Sungai Tendulu, Sungai Melalap, Sungai Liawan and Sungai Tikalod flow the opposite direction (Phillipps, 1988).(II) Climatic ConditionsThe average rainfall is about 1,800 mm with a relatively uniform temperature in the range of 23-28oC. Humidity is high (80-85%) (Shabdin Mohd. Long et al., 2001)
The Crocker Range Park shares the same range as Kinabalu Park. However, the avifauna in the park is not as well studied as Kinabalu Park, although they are presumed to share similar bird communities especially the restricted-range assemblages. A brief survey by Rahman et al., (2001) and Shahrul Anuar Mohd Sah et al., (2001) revealed the presence of more than 51 species including several Bornean endemics and Near Threatened species.
Non-bird biodiversity: A scientific expedition to Crocker Range Park in 1999 captured various aspects of the park viz. flora, fauna, geology, socio economic and cultural. Several findings on the flora and fauna component are stated below.One hundred and fifty-one and 71 families of gymnosperms and angiosperms, of which 40 taxa are incompletely determined. The Rubiaceae and Euphorbiaceae are the two largest families in the flora with 14 and 13 species respectively. The genera Ficus and Tetrastigma are the two largest with 8 and 7 species respectively (Latiff et al., 2001).Sixteen genera comprising 73 species of Araceae of which 70 are indigenous to Sabah. Important finds include the potentially threatened Alocasia cuprea, Pothos ovatifolius, Colocasia oresbia, an undescribed Schismatoglottis and Rhaphidophora latevaginata (Boyce et al., 2001).Seven species of wild Piper namely Piper canimum, P. erecticaule, P. aff. longamentum, P. magnibaccum, P. poryphyrophyllum, P. umbellatum and P. aff. ridleyi (Tawan et al., 2001). Presence of Rafflesia pricei and R. keithii in the park (e.g. Kimanis, Magindanau and Membakut).Seventeen species of freshwater fishes from four families were recorded in the upper rivers on the range, dominated by gatromyzontids (60%) with Bornean endemics such as Gastromyzon, Glaniopsis and Protomyzon (Khairul Adha A. Rahim et al., 2001). Another survey on the mountain streams revealed the presence of at least 19 species from three families, Cyprinidae, Balitoridae and Poeciliidae, dominated by cyprinids (Kavanagh, 2001).Tan (1992) collected seventy-nine species of amphibians and reptiles from Sungai Malutut and Sungai Purulon which include 31 species of frogs, 1 caecilian, 15 lizards and 32 snakes in an earlier survey. Ramlah Zainudin et al. (2001) identified 18 species of amphibians from the family of Ranidae, Bufonidae, Microhylidae, Megophryidae and Rhacophoridae. Rana kuhli dominated the collection.Several orders of macroinvertebrates such as Ephemeroptera, Odonata, Plecoptera, Hemiptera, Coleoptera, Trichoptera, Diptera and Collembola were identified in fast flowing rivers (Shabdin Mohd. Long, 2001).Presence of a species of gastropod, Melaniodes tuberculata (F: Thiaridae) in Sungai Mahua (Supian and Ikhwanuddin, 2001).Eight species of non-volant small mammals (Tuen et al., 2001a) and 41 species of bats (Tuen et al., 2000, 2001b) were recorded. Three hundred and seventy species of larger moths (Lepidoptera: Heterocera) from 15 families were collected with the Noctuidae and Geometridae representing the most diverse families. The rare Brahmaea hearseyi (F: Brahmaeidae) were also collected (Fatimah Abang and Catherine Ak Karim, 2001).Fifteen species of cicadas in nine genera (eight belonging to the family Cicadidae and one to the family Tibicinidae), of which 12 were new records for the Park (Zaidi et al., 2001).(I)Globally threatened mammals (IUCN, 2002): VULNERABLE: Hose's Civet Diplogale hosei; NEAR THREATENED: Brooke's Squirrel Sundasciurus brookei, Grey Fruit Bat Aethalops alecto, Dayak Fruit Bat Dyacopterus spadiceus, Bronzed Tube-nosed Bat Murina aenea, Common Bent-winged Bat Miniopterus schreibersi, Naked Bat Cheiromeles torquatus; DATA DEFICIENT: Black Myotis Myotis gomatongensis (II) Globally threatened reptiles (IUCN, 2002): No information.(III) Globally threatened plants (IUCN, 2002): VULNERABLE: Agathis lenticula, Dacrydium gracile, Nepenthes fusca
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Encroachment by local communities into the Park is a concern. Even though issues such shifting cultivation may not be very serious, if left unchecked, will threaten the remaining forested land. The recently established community at Bariawak Ulu, which is located near the Park headquarters, has already posed problems to forest and wildlife conservation efforts (Dimbab Ngidang et al., 2001). Poaching and illegal logging, which has reached remote areas (Timpangoh area), are other constant threats faced by the park (Roy Goh, 2001). Natural or man-induced forest fires are also of concern.The Crocker Range Park was also threatened by the proposed Beaufort-Tenom highway project in 2001, which would bisect the park and result in fragmentation. However, the project was cancelled within the same year citing high preparatory cost (Muguntan Vanar and Ruben Sario, 2001).
The Crocker Range was made a Forest Reserve in 1969 (Gazette Notification No. 596) under Section 12 of the Forest Enactment 1968. It became effective on 25 September 1969. Subsequently, it was turned into a park in 1984 and was officially named as the Crocker Range National Park under the Parks Enactment 1984 (Regis, 2001). However, it was renamed as Crocker Range Park under the 1996 Amendment to the earlier enactment.The Ulu Membakut has been proposed as an extension as water catchment reserves/nature reserves/permanent forest reserve. The Crocker Range Park is classified under the IUCN Category II protected area. A Management Masterplan for Crocker Range Park is being produced in a collaborative effort between the Japanese and Sabah State Government agencies.
Habitat and land use
Currently, the Park consists of many sizeable patches of lowland forests that have been cleared for agriculture and human settlements, the remaining larger portion of primary mixed hill dipterocarp forests, the last remaining on the west coast. The forest composition on Mahua according to Isa Ipor et al. (2001) is dominated by Duabanga moluccana followed by Knema ashtonii, Agathis lanceolata, Lithocarpus cantleyanus and Litsea ochracea. Other less prominent species include Xanthophyllum schizocarpum, Baringtonia sarcostachys, Shorea maxwelliana, Alseodaphne insignis, Litsea resinosa, Beilsmedia pauciflora, A. foxiana, Endiandra kingiana and L. machilifolia. The pristine montane forest is also rich in oaks, chestnuts and conifers. Mossy forest with orchids, rhododendrons and pitcher plants can be found on the ridges.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Crocker Range. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 25/02/2021.