Pondok Tanjung Forest Reserve is probably the largest remaining swamp forest in northern Peninsular Malaysia. The area consists of three main habitat types namely peat swamp, seasonally-flooded freshwater swamp and hill dipterocarp forests. The highest point is Bukit Palong Tinggi at 373 m asl. Four rivers drain the swamp forest, with the longest Sungai Jelutong joining Sungai Merah to feed Tasik Bukit Merah on the western side of the forest reserve. This lake is the source of irrigation water for the nearby Kerian rice-bowl district and also supplies water for domestic use. The forest reserve is bordered by vast oil palm plantations on the northern and eastern parts and rubber plantation down south (DWNP, 1987; Mashhor Mansor et al., 1998).
Pondok Tanjong with its peat swamp forest is an important IBA candidate for its habitat types, which provide sanctuary for habitat specialists such as White-bellied Woodpecker, White-chested Babbler and Grey-headed Fish-Eagle and other Biome-Restricted species.
Non-bird biodiversity: Pondok Tanjung is home to several endemic fauna and flora. The blackwaters of the swamp forest is known to harbour about 60 species of fish, including the highly-endangered Asian Arowana Schlerophages formosus. The endemic aquatic yam, Cryptocoryne ellipitica, occurs in high densities in the swampy and shaded parts of the forest reserve (Mashhor Mansor and Baharuddin Sulaiman, 1997; Mashhor Mansor and Masnadi, 1994).Pondok Tanjung also supports at least 11 species of mammals, five reptiles, 13 amphibians and two freshwater crabs (Mohamed Hifni Mohd Baharuddin and Shahrul Anuar Mohd Sah, 1999; Moh'd A. Ektella et al., 1999; Shahrul Anuar et al., 2002).(I) Globally threatened mammals (IUCN, 2002): ENDANGERED: Malayan Tapir Tapirus indicus; VULNERABLE: Pig-tailed Macaque Macaca nemestrina; NEAR THREATENED: Long-tailed Macaque M. fascicularis, Ridley's Bat Myotis ridleyi(II) Globally threatened reptiles (IUCN, 2002): Malayan Box Terrapin????(III) Globally threatened plants (IUCN, 2002): CRITICAL: Dipterocarpus chartaceus, D. coriaceus, D. cornutus, Hopea nervosa, H. sublanceolata, Shorea kunstleri; ENDANGERED: Anisoptera costata, Shorea balanocarpoides, S. pauciflora, Diplodiscus hookerianus; VULNERABLE: Eugenia pallidula, Chisocheton pauciflorus, Madhuca rufa, Gonystylus bancanus, Pentace perakensis; LOWER RISK/ conservation dependent: Koompassia excelsa
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Pondok Tanjung Forest Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 04/12/2020.