Rehabilitation of Raja Musa Forest Reserve



Peatland area being cleared for agricultural activity

Photo taken by Julia Lo, ProjectOfficer/Botanist

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The North Selangor Peat Swamp Forest (NSPSF) is located in the north western part of the Selangor State and it covers an area of 73,392 hectares. It consists of Raja Musa Forest Reserve (RMFR) and Sungai Karang Forest Reserve with an area of 23,486 hectares and 50,106 hectares respectively.

RMFR was gazetted in 1990 and prior to its gazettement, the area was part of State land foresr and was intensively subjected to logging since 1950s with very little control and supervision from Forestry Department. As a consequence, the condition of the forest is heavily disturbed and the forest stand is only of medium to low density. Under the "Integrated Management Plan of the NSPSF (2001 - 2010)", 70% of RMFR is classified as production forest, 27% as forest sanctuary for wildlife and the remaining 3% as research forest. Forest harvesting in RMFR continued until 2007 within the production forest.

RMFR support tree species with small to medium sized crowns, typically reaching 30 metres in height. Emergent trees are scattered throughout the area. Kempas (Koompassia malaccensis ), Kedondong (Santiria spp.), Kelat ( Syzgium spp.) and Durian (Durio carinatus) are the dominant tree species within the forest. Ramin (Gonystylus bancanus) which was a common species in the peat swamp forest is now very rare. Part of the nortn-east corner pf RMFR are known for its high water table and dominated by palms and pandanus.

The issues  

a) Forest fire

  • Correlation between heavily drained and degraded forest areas and fires in Raja Musa FR;
  • Frequent fires during prolong dry spells in months of February - March and June - August every year;
  • Due to burning of agricultural waste outside the FR, illegal clearing for settlement and agriculture activities and other encroachment activities;
  • An area covering 6500 hectares bordering the southern part of the Raja Musa FFR is directly affected by drainage and has been severly degraded by fire;
  • 2000 hectares comprises of grassland due to repeated burning incidence;
  • Within the FR are large quantirues of dry organic materials found heavily logged and dameged forests; and

Due to this, the centre of the FR is severely affected by fire over the past decades.

b) Encroachment

Land grabbing from the late 1990's up to mid 2000's resulted in illegal encroachment of the previously burnt area and provided an excuse for illegal settlers who have encroached into the forest reserve for settlement and agriculture. After a series of ad hoc actions by SFD, the present Selangor State Government acknowledge the severity of damage and negative impact to the state, resulting in 470 individuals forcefully removed/evcuated from the affected sites in december 2008 and these areas have now been subjected to forest rehabilitation activities.

Read more on our community based rehabilitation programme >>