Types and Categories of Sarawak's Forests
Sarawak is the second to Peninsular Malaysia in terms of landmass covering 12.4 million hectares, and is located on the island of Borneo. More than 80% of the State is under forest cover (based on 2012 satellite imageries). Forest land is Sarawak is classified as the Permanent Forest Estate (Forest Reserves, Protected Forests and Communal Forests), Totally Protected Areas (National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Nature Reserves) and Stateland Forest.
Six million hectares of the State's forests are designated as the Permanent Forest Estate which is meant for sustainable forest managment and about 1 million hectares are designated as Totally Protected Areas.
Although five types of natural forest are recognised in Sarawak, three main types predominate. These are Hill Mixed Dipterocarp Forest (covering about 9.6 million hectares), Peat Swamp Forest (comprising about 0.75 million hectares) and Mangrove Forest (occupying slightly more than 0.09 million hectares). The other two types, the Kerangas and the Montane Forests, are minimal in size.]
Where each of the forest types is found depends on the altitude, soil conditions and water availability. Hill Mixed Dipterocarp Forest is found in the interior, upriver areas, extending from coastal peat swamps up to heights of 1,500 meters. Montane Forest takes over beyond this altitude. The domain of the Peat Swamp Forest is lowlying coastal plains with a high water table reaching inland along the lower reaches of major river systems. The Rejang delta and the Batang Baram are fine examples of Peat Swamp Forest. Mangrove Forest, on the other hand, is found in tidal and estuarine stretches extending from mud flats to where the saline waters start while Kerangas Forest occurs on poor, sandy soil and terrain.
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