Matang Mangrove Forest

The Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve is the largest mangrove forest reserve in Malaysia. It forms a crescent strip along the northern coast of Perak state, stretching 51.5km from Kuala Gula to the north to Bagan Panchor to the south, with a maximum width of 13km. Covering an area of more than 40,000 hectares, the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve is one of the best managed tract of mangrove forest in the world. The Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve is the oldest in the country.

Matang was gazetted a permanent forest reserve way back in 1906. 80% of the forest is still used for the production of mangrove woods including Bakau minyak and Bakau kurap, on a sustainable yield basis. The Matang forest is watered through the daily flooding brought in by the tide. Major rivers that flow through the Matang forest include Sungai Gula, Sungai Kelumpang, Sungai Selinsing, Sungai Sangga Besar, Sungai Sepetang, Sungai Jaha, Sungai Terung and Sungai Jarum Mas.

The estuaries within the Matang forest range in width from 2 to 4 km. They include Kuala Gula-Kuala Kelumpang, Kuala Selinsing-Kuala Sangga Besar, Kuala Larut-Kuala Jaha, Kuala Trong and Kuala Jarum Mas. The Matang Mangrove Forest is an important site for coastal migratory waterbirds as well as a portion of migrant forest birds.

According to the Malaysian Nature Society, as many as 43,000 to 85,000 birds may be using the forest during migration. According to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks in 1995, species of birds in the Matang mangrove forest number 75. The 255 hectare Pulau Kelumpang and 129.4 hectare Pulau Terong support a viable breeding population of the Milky Stork, which is endangered, and approximately 50% of the Lesser Adjutant in Malaysia.

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