Royal Belum Forest Reserve
Introduction and History
The Royal Belum forest is located in the Gerik, Perak, area (Hulu Perak). It is believe that the forest reserve coverage is about 290,000 hectares and with more than 146,000 hectares of virgin forest. The forest is divided into two sections: the upper Belum area, which stretches to the Thai-Malaysian border covering 117,500 hectares of impenetrable jungle and the lower Belum mostly covered by Temenggor Lake. The State of Perak has decided to preserve the Belum and Temenggor forests as a permanent nature reserve for research.
The entire forest of Belum and Temenggor was considered a ‘black area’ and was placed under a State of Emergency from 1948 until 1989. The communist party of Malaya was extremely active in that area and according to sources; the East-West Highway proposed by an army General believed cutting a road through the area would hamper the communists’ movements. However, this road was constantly under threat of being bombed and sabotaged by renegades. Peace has since reigned over the area after the signing of the Haadyai Accord in 1989.
Flora and Fauna
If you have signed up to take the adventure package, you will most likely be taken through the lower part of Belum forest where you can see the rainforest hardwoods. These hardwoods such as Meranti, Cengal, Keruing and Merbau species are becoming increasingly rare. Many of these large hardwoods have survived 150 to 600 years with poor condition soil, lack of nutrients and weather changes. It is a miracle that anything can grow at all.
The forest also showcases the flora of the northern region, which has distinct Myanmar-Thai influences. Species like rafflesia, wild ginger, orchids, wild flowers and Tongkat Ali can be found here.
Our most precious wildlife remains safe in Belum. There are an estimated 60-70 tigers roaming around in Belum, over 100 Seladangs survive here in groups of single males and their harems, the Sumatran Rhinos are estimated at 160 individuals and there are over 100 Tapirs. Elephants live in large tight knit families, Binturongs come out at night, Malayan Sun Bears scale trees for huge honey combs and the Serow hide away in the limestone hills. The wild fishing cats sit patiently for its food to swim down the streams as the wildcats crouch in thick undergrowth. Here, so many species share space in Belum such as Leopard Cats, Clouded Leopards, Black Panthers, Vipers, Flying Foxes, Otters, Porcupines, Armadillos, Reptiles, Dholes and 200 species of colourful birds.
The Belum Forest is also home to some 25 rare species of flies, and a few endemic prawns that have live here for centuries that cannot be found in any other part of the country.
Belum forest is facing dangers from excessive poaching and the loss of habitat. Local poachers and those from Thailand are the main threat. Wildlife trafficking is becoming a serious problem and more so for the meat and exotic pet market.
Attraction and activities
It is estimated that there are at least 60 salt licks scattered around the Belum area. The salt licks are important for the animals’ wellbeing and there is a potential for the operators to develop certain areas for eco-tourism. However, these plans must be researched extensively because it has been proven that introduction of people to the area will cause the animals to flee from their usual waterholes and saltpans, which has occurred in Taman Negara. The animals are sensitive to change. Salt licks are usually covered with all types of animal tracks. The Sambar Deer, the Kijangs, Tapirs, Elephants, wild boars, the Sumatran Rhino, Seladang and the Malayan Gaur - come down to the licks, usually under the cover of the darkness.
Elephant tracks can also be found crossing the salt lick areas. One can determine the age of the elephant by the size and pattern of the tracks as well as the dung found along the trail. The animals also smear mud onto their bodies to clear themselves of parasites, boar ticks and sometimes to seal open wounds from infection and contamination. Males often urinate and defecate around the salt lick area to mark out their territories as they leave.
Enjoy the beautiful scenery and the fiery sunset over Temenggor Lake and the ancient limestone hills believe to be 220 million years old. Some of the limestone islands at the southern reaches of the lake were once majestic rock cliffs dating back to 400 million years ago; before the Jurassic era. These are said to be among the oldest outcrops in Malaysia.
For a visit to the Terhong Waterfall, you can depart to Post Chiong on a 2 hours boat ride and trek 4 hours to the waterfall via Terning, remembering to visit the Pering saltlick along Sungai Terming and Rafflesia.
You can also visit the 1961 Kuala Cerendong helicopter crash site and from there proceed to Sungai Cerendong to visit the Orang Asli settlement (Temiar tribe) along Sungai Sara.
Belum forest also offers a host of adventure activities like fishing, kayaking, jungle walking, bird watching and camping.
Getting there and away
Belum Valley is located at the spine of the Titiwangsa Range, midway between the East and West Coasts. The nearest towns are Grik in Perak and Jeli in Kelantan, which are connected by the scenic East-West Highway. Driving from Kuala Lumpur to Belum takes about six hours. Join the North-South Highway and exit at Kuala Kangsar. Head for Gerik and then to Pulau Banding.
Belum is also accessible from Baling in Kedah via Pengkalan Hulu from the north. From Kota Baru, it's a three-hour drive. The nearest railway station is Kuala Kangsar but the station is still a long way off. From there you can take boat ride to the campsite.
Call the State Forestry Department for more information
Perhilitan Perak at 05-7911164
No logging in Temenggor
IPOH: The Perak government has ordered a stop to all logging activities at the Temenggor forest reserve.
Without giving a timeframe, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali said he had given this directive to the state Forestry director.
Of the 140,000ha of forest reserves, 70,000ha that are being logged will be turned into a no-logging zone.
�The plan is to stop logging activities over one million acres (404,678ha) of forest reserve in Gerik, Belum and Temenggor,� he said in response to remarks by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid to stop depending on logging as a source of income.
Currently, there were no logging activities in 263,040ha and the remaining logging activities were spread over a 30-year period, said Tajol Rosli.
forest reserve has been in the limelight following a
postcard campaign by the Malaysian Nature Society to
stop logging activities at the 130 million-year-
For a start, Tajol Rosli said, logging activities surrounding Temenggor Lake at the Temenggor forest reserve would cease from next year.
Licences given out to log the area surrounding the lake would be cancelled and alternative spots would be given to the timber concessionaires.
The Mentri Besar said the state government could not stop logging activities entirely, and it would be looking for alternative logging spots for the timber industry, adding that these alternative sites would be areas that could not be seen from the highway or places that were far from villages and rivers.
He added that logging had to continue because close to 30,000 people were employed in the timber industry.
On the withdrawal of the Forest Stewardship Council certification to Perak Integrated Timber Complex (PITC), Tajol Rosli said it was a blow to the state and PITC would try to regain the certification, which allows timber products to be exported to the European market.