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Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve, Malaysia

Situated south of the World Heritage Site Mount Kinabalu, the Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve forms chain mountains with no distinct peaks in western Sabah. The rocky topography constitutes solely of mountains, hills and small basins dissected by deep river valleys. Elevation above sea level of the Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve ranges from 6m to 2,076m. At the site, 105m above sea level, the highest temperature is 32°C and the lowest is 20°C. The area has around 3,000 mm/year precipitation on average and is home to a wide array of endangered species. This biosphere reserve covers an area of 350,584 ha, stretching approximately 120km north and south, and 40km east and west, encompassing rich biodiversity and tropical hill-montane landscape. 

Designation date: 2014


Regional network:  SeaBRnet

Ecosystem-based network: Tropical Humid Forests and Coastal Marine




    Surface : 350,584 ha

    • Core area(s): 144,492 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 60,313 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 145,779 ha

    Location: 05°43′37″N, 115°31′58″E

    Administrative Authorities

    Sabah Biodiversity Centre (SaBC)
    7th Floor, Menara Tun Mustapha
    88502 Kota Kinabalu

    Tel.: N/A
    Email: N/A

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    Ecological Characteristics

    The Crocker Range ecosystem mainly contains hill and lower montane tropical forests from central to northern Borneo. This ecosystem covers various altitudinal vegetation types, from lowland-hill forest below 300m, to cloud forest higher than 1,500m.

    The core area of the site is made up of the Crocker Range Park and three legally protected forest reserves. Here, undisturbed hills remain with lower montane tropical forest as the dominating vegetation. The core area is covered by natural vegetation, which is ecologically connected to and surrounded by the buffer zone. In the buffer and transition zones, where approximately 400 communities exist, natural hills with lower montane tropical forest, secondary forest, hill paddy, rubber plantation and palm oil plantation are all under observation. 

    Despite the limited number of studies on flora in the Crocker Range, six permanent plots (50m x 50m) for ecological monitoring have been established with an inventory of more than 300 plant species (August 2011). Two endemic Rafflesia species are found in the Crocker Range with a total of 737 plant species recorded in the Trus Madi; the biosphere reserve’s eastern vicinity. In terms of fauna, the number of species recorded in Crocker Range Park and its surrounding area includes: 101 mammals, 259 birds, 47 reptiles, 63 amphibians, and 42 freshwater fish. 

    The Crocker Range is also the habitat of several endangered species, like the Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), the sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), and the clouded leopard.


    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    The total population in the Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve is around 99,000 with 399 villages. Considering the core area is strictly utilized for long-term research programmes, environmental education, tourism, and more, its estimated population is a mere 200 people. These 30 families engage in agricultural and natural resource use of the Crocker Range Park, producing rubber and cocoa as well as working in various governmental agencies and private sectors.

    With local authorities and communities very involved in the nomination of the biosphere reserve, livelihoods are mostly sustained through agricultural activities such as hill paddy, coconut and fruit farming with plantation acreage at roughly 394 (2004). In the buffer zone, where 52 villages in total are confirmed, small scale agriculture and rubber tree plantation are the main human activities. The transition zone features at least 264 villages, subsistence agriculture, small scale plantation and suburban agriculture, producing vegetables and other products to Kota Kinabalu city. However, other local towns are also major land uses, especially the Tenom and Beaufort districts which have developed large continuous areas of palm oil plantations. Hunting activities are still practiced in the Crocker Range Park, incorporated as part of their inherited ancestral culture. Animals such as deer, wild pigs, squirrels and birds are among the common game available to residents, who mainly hunt for personal consumption. The park’s vegetables and forest plants are also used by inhabitants for medicinal purposes.


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    Last updated: March 2019