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Stesen Penyelidikan Pasoh

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Pasoh Sub-Station (pasoh@frim.gov.my) Introduction

Pasoh Forest Reserve or Pasoh to most of us, is located about 8 km from Simpang Pertang in Negri Sembilan and is about 2 1/2 hours drive by car from Kuala Lumpur (See map). This reserve with an area of 2,450 ha, is surrounded on three sides by oil palm plantations and joined to virgin hill dipterocarp forest on its north-eastern boundary. The main part of the reserve consists of lowland dipterocarp forest of the Keruing-Meranti type. The core area of about 600 ha is under pristine condition while the surrounding buffer zone consists of regenerating lowland forest.

From 1970 to 1978,Pasoh was the site of intensive research on lowland rain forest ecology and dynamics under a joint research project between the University of Malaya (UM) and the International Biological Programme (IBP), the Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme and the joint Rainforest Research Project of the University of Malaya and the University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom. In fact, Pasoh Forest Reserve was declared as an International Biosphere Reserve under the MAB Programme.

In December 1977 the Forest Research Institute (FRI at that time) took over the management of Pasoh Forest Reserve from the University of Malaya. This was made possible through the collaboration of the Negri Sembilan State Forest Department. Pasoh has since become a field research station of the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM).

The main attraction at Pasoh is its floristically rich forest. Within an area of 50 ha, a total of 335,256 stems 1 cm dbh (diameter at breast height) and above belonging to 814 species, 294 genera and 78 families has been recorded. The most common plant families are the Euphorbiaceae and Annonaceae among the smaller trees, and the Dipterocarpaceae, Leguminosae and Burseraceae most common species is Xerospermum noronhianum (Sapindaceae) locally called rambutan pacat, which accounts for 2.5% of the total number of plants. For trees above 30 cm dbh, the most abundant species is Shorea leprosula (meranti tembaga), a member of the Diptrerocarpaceae. Being an isolated forest surrounded by oil palm estates, forest gaps, formed by windthrow of a large tree or a group of trees, are a fairly common feature at Pasoh. Within these gaps, one can find many regenerating seedlings and saplings.

Although Pasoh lacks big game animals such as tigers and tapirs, it still has elephants, and a good composition of small mammals, primates and birds. In fact, many species of birds which are considered rare in other forests are found in Pasoh. Today Pasoh is not only the site of many research studies by both lcoal scientists and scientists from abroad but is also an educational centre for school children, college and university students and the general public.

Facilities at Pasoh Physical Facilities

FRIM maintains fully furnished and well equipped living quarters both at Simpang Pertang and inside the Pasoh Forest Reserve area. At the base station in Pasoh there are dormitory and housing facilities with a total of seven rooms accommodating up to 16 persons. These are situated in a clearing within the forest together with a small laboratory cum library for research and reference work. Electricity is supplied by a generator on the premises. Another four rooms accommodating eight persons are available at the house in Simpang Pertang. Simpang Pertang is the town nearest Pasoh. Here one can find a few small grocery shops and restaurants. However,at Bahau 32 km to the north-west of Pasoh and just 30 minutes away by car, one can find a much wider range of shops and restaurants, several clean and reasonably priced hotels, and even a supermarket.

Permanent Ecology Plots

Five 2 ha permanent ecological plots were established during the UM-IBP Project . All trees 10 cm dbh and above have been tagged, identified and mapped within these plots and their growth and mortality are being monitored regularly. A 35 m tall wooden tower was constructed around a Shorea leprosula tree in the phenology plot to facilitate microclimatic studies and phenological observations. The tower is, however, no longer in use following the death of the supporting tree.

The 50 ha Plot

In 1985, a 50 ha permanent plot was established by FRIM in collaboration with the National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute where all tree species 1 cm dbh and above in diameter were tagged, identified and mapped. Data from this demographic study plot will provide insights into better understanding of ecological processes and functions of the rain forest as well as useful baseline information for supporting other related studies. The 50 ha plot is about 45 minutes walk from the base station along the main trail .

Arboretum

In 1989, a 2.2 ha arboretum was established in the forest beside the base station. A total of 733 trees from 267 species were tagged, identified and mapped. The arboretum serves as a botanical tree garden for research and education.

Tree Tower

Canopy Walkway System – In April 1992, an aluminium alloy tree tower-canopy walkway system was constructed near Plot 1 in conjunction with a collaborative project between FRIM and the National Institute of Environmental Sciences (NIES) of Japan. Funded by the Government of Japan, this RM 330,000 system consists of three 40 m tall free standing towers with individual stairways for each station. The towers are held in place by steel cables and interlinked at a height of 30 m by walkways forming a triangle. The towers facilitate microclimatic and physiological studies at various heights of the forest canopy while the walkways provide convenient access to the canopy for phenological observations and faunal studies. Being made of metal, each tower carries an efficient lightning conductor. This system which is highly compact and portable, took only 10 days to install. Although widely found in the USA, it is the only one of its kind in Malaysia. In early 1995 the height of one of the towers was extended by another 12 m to allow measurements of carbon dioxide fluxes above the tree canopy level.

Trails

There are a number of signposted trails in the Pasoh Forest Reserve. On a short day visit, the most interesting trail to take would be the easy circular Nature Trail which begins and ends opposite the Arboretum. This trail initially passes through the selectively logged forest and then enters a section of the virgin forest before looping back to its starting point. Along this trail one can see various interesting features of the Pasoh forest.

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