Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Mulu - Flora & Fauna

Continuing from my last post, I'm going to provide some descriptions of Mulu's diverse flora and fauna here.
There are seventeen vegetation zones, which have been recognized, and over 3,500 plant species recorded and 1,500 flowering plants identified. Massive, lowland dipterocarp forest occurs up to an altitude of 800 meters and 284 tree species have been recorded. Between 800 meters to 1,200 meters, Quercus Subsericea dominates the lower montane forest. Upper motane forest displaces between 1,200 meters to 2,177 meters where small tree and shrub layer can be found like Rhododendron and Vaccinium and some other pitcher plants like Nepenthes lowii, N. tentaculata and N.muluensis. Pitcher plants are in themselves one of Borneo's natural flora attraction, and in Sarawak itself an up-coming event is being organised to create awareness among the general public on the uniqueness of this plant species. To check for sources of event or conference organisers, click here.

Limestone forest occurs on the Melinau Limestone Formation, which includes limestone forest; limestone cliff vegetation, lowland limestone montane forest, upper motane limestone forest and limestone cave vegetation. Many endemic calcerous species are represented in this area; the limestone flora is one of the most diverse and best preserved in Southeast Asia.

The alluvial plain in the park comprises of lowland alluvial forest, tropical heath forest, peat swamp and riparian forest. It is the most complex vegetation formation in the park. Some emergent species attain a height of forty meters, with maximum girths of 250m.
One thing an avid traveler always needs is a good camera. I for one would never settle for a point-and-shoot contraption because everytime I take photos, it has to have some kind of short story in it. Which is how photographs should be taken. A good source of photography and related information on suitable equipments to be used, photo-taking, printing, techniques and others can be found here.

Gunung Mulu National Park is also considered to be one of the richest sites in the world for palms, with approximately 111 species and 20 genera recorded. These are Wild sago palm, which occurs on the steep slopes of Gunung Mulu; Iguanura melinauensis and Licuala Lanata are endemic to the alluvial plain; Calamus Neilsonii and Salacca are endemic to the limestone.

About 1,700 species of liverworts and mosses have been recorded. Examples of endemic mosses to the park include Hypnodendron beccarii and H. vitiense. The very rare bogmoss can also be found in rain gullies in the high forest. There are also a great number of spore producing plants, occurring in the park. To date 442 species have been identified, many of which are ferns. In addition 4,000 species of fungi have been recorded.

Fauna species, including 81 mammalian species were found. Important mammal species such as the Malayan Pangolin and 2 species of endemic Borneo squirrels; the tufted ground squirrel and the plain pigmy squirrel have been identified in the park. The Savi pigmy shrew, the smallest mammal in the world, weighing only 2 grams is also found. Other than that, 28 species of bats have been recorded, which is one of the highest numbers in South East Asia. The largest colonies of free tailed bats, wrinkle-lipped bats can be found in Deer Cave including 12 different bat species, the Lesser tailless round leaf and the Orange-tube nosed bat that have not been seen anywhere else in Borneo.

The Park also recorded 270 bird species where out of the 29 endemic Borneo species, 26 have been recorded. There are 8 of Borneo’s hornbill species have been identified including the wrinkled hornbill. Other species include Bulwer’s Pheasant, crested fire back pheasant, Storm’s stork, and the Bamboo muni which is endemic to Borneo and has only been found in Mulu and Kinabalu.

A total number of 25 snake species have been identified. This include regal python, reed snake and poisonous snakes like the banded-coral snake, the red headed krait and the white-spotted cat snake. Two-thirds of all known amphibian species occurring in Borneo can be found at the nominated site, including Wallace’s flying frog and the significance is the Philautus that only breeds in the fluid of the pitcher plant and 27 species of lizard have been identified.
Others existed in the park are 76 species of amphibians and 48 species of fish.
I've always wanted to produce a short film on my excursions in the wild, but before that I need to get myself a good videocam, plus acquire some skills in film-making, editing, graphic designing, etc. A good source of info would be here.
Or, if you're more of a writer, you can also try to look for publishers for your work either in hardcopy or e-book; check it out here.
Ok, more stuff on Mulu in my next post!

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