Sungai Pulai



The largest riverine mangrove system in Johor State, located at the estuary of the Sungai Pulai river. With its associated seagrass beds, intertidal mudflats and inland freshwater riverine forest the site represents one of the best examples of a lowland tropical river basin, supporting a rich biodiversity dependent on mangrove. It is home for the rare and endemic small tree Avicennia lanata, animals such as near-threatened and vulnerable Long-tailed Macaque, Smooth Otter and rare Flat-headed Cat and threatened birds species as Mangrove Pitta and Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, all included in the IUCN Red List. Relatively undisturbed parts including the Nipah swamps may be nesting sites of the Estuarine Crocodile. The site fringes play a significant role in shoreline stabilization and severe flood prevention in the adjacent 38 villages. The local population depends on the estuary as its mudflats, an ideal feeding, spawning and fattening ground, support a significant proportion of fish species. Other mangrove uses include wood cutting, charcoal production, aquaculture activities and eco-tourism. The current construction of a new port at the river estuary may represent a direct impact on the mangrove ecosystem, causing coastal erosion and water pollution from associated dredging and reclamation works and traffic. The site is managed in line with Integrated Management Plan for the sustainable use of mangroves in Johor state. Ramsar site no. 1288. Most recent RIS information: 2003.

  • Country: Malaysia
  • Site number: 1288
  • Area: 9,126.0 ha
  • Designation date: 31-01-2003
  • Coordinates: 1°23\\\’N 103°32\\\’E
  • Administrative region: Johor
  • National legal designation: Forest Reserve

RAMSAR Criteria



Sungai Pulai is probably the largest and most intact riverine mangrove system remaining in West Malaysia. With its associated seagrass beds, intertidal mudflats and inland freshwater riverine forest it represents one of the best examples of a lowland tropical river basin in Malaysia. Sungai Pulai is rich in its mangrove diversity consisting of a total of twenty-four species even though the majority of it is Rhizophora mucronata-Bruguiera parviflora production forest. The forestry practices that are being carried out are sustainable and are managed well. The extensive riverine mangroves support a rich biological diversity of fauna comprising of 7 amphibians, 12 reptiles, 55 birds, 26 mammals and 111 fish species. The mangroves are not under imminent threat as the water quality is found to be good and the mangroves in a healthy condition. There are sufficient mother trees to provide young propagules. Regeneration is occurring at a good rate. Sungai Pulai  is a typical example of representative coastal wetland type found in the tropics, which is, a mangrove swamp system. It plays a major role in the natural control of coastal flooding.

To summarize, 3 wetland-dependent birds are near threatened (Mangrove Pitta, Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, Mangrove Whistler) and previous findings of Sungai Pulai, these wetlands support many threatened and vulnerable 2 primates (Long-tailed Macaque, Pig-tailed Macaque) whereas the Scaly Anteater; Common Porcupine; Smooth Otter and Bearded Pig are either classified as vulnerable or near threatened. From this information and perspective both Sungai Pulai Mangroves should be considered internationally important wetlands. In Peninsular Malaysia, it has been observed that coastal mangroves are more intact and are not facing serious threats from development as compared to riverine mangroves. Riverine mangroves are threatened ecological communities as siltation, erosion, pollution (both land and water based) and conversions to other non-compatible land uses easily impact them. Currently Sungai Pulai consists of a large riverine mangrove ecosystem where the mangroves are used sustainably and are in a healthy condition. This riverine mangrove area should be protected from further developmental pressures since there are no other remaining good examples of such an ecosystem in Peninsular Malaysia. From time to time there have been sightings of the Estuarine Crocodile Crocodylus porosus in Sungai Pulai (personal communications). This suggests that Sg. Pulai is a possible nesting area for the Estuarine Crocodile. In our field surveys, Avicennia lanata a mangrove species endemic to Malaysia was recorded in Sungai Pulai. This is a  new record and new site for the occurrence of this plant since it was previously recorded in Singapore and Malacca and more recently in Sarawak.

The Sungai Pulai mangroves is home to about  24 ‘true’ mangrove plant species as well as 21 more mangrove associated species which represent s a very rich species diversity if compared to other mangrove areas in Peninsular Malaysia. Larut Matang Mangroves has 21 species of ‘true’ mangroves species in a larger area of mangroves (40,151 ha) as compared to Sungai Pulai mangroves of 9,126 ha. Given the smaller size of Sungai Pulai it greatly contributes to the biological diversity of the region. The Sungai Pulai mangrove forest is unique in the sense they are an example of good estuarine mangroves, which are tide dominated.  They are largely influenced by high tidal range with strong bi-directional tidal currents.  The current disperses the sediments brought to the coast by the many rivers.  The channels in Sungai Pulai are quite stable and maintained by the bi-directional tidal flow to and from the mangrove forest. A survey of the fauna of Pulai mangroves re

vealed that 6 species of mammals are true mangrove dependent species.  The dependent mammal species include the Colugo, Long–tailed (Crab–eating) Macaque, Smooth Otter and a few bats species including the Dog–Faced Fruit Bat, Common Long-tongued Bat, Cave Fruit Bat and the Brown Bat.  Another interesting species is the rare Flat-headed Cat that feeds on fish. The larger mangrove areas of Sungai Pulai are particularly important for the specialised mangrove dependent species such as the Mangrove Pitta and Mangrove Blue Flycatcher. The tall-undisturbed mangrove trees are important nesting sites for the Grey Heron, Brahminy Kites, White-bellied Sea Eagles, Little Egrets, Serpent Eagles and presumably the Lesser Adjutants. The relatively Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands (RIS), page 3 undisturbed sites in Sungai Pulai including the Nipah swamps may be nesting sites of the Estuarine Crocodile.

Sungai Pulai Mangroves and its associated mudflats are home to 111 fish species, 22 shellfish species, 3 crab species and 15 prawn species. It is an important habitat for marine fisheries as it supports a significant proportion of fish species. Each of these marine fish species belong to a number of taxa, with different life history stages, species interactions and different ecological roles to play at different stages of their life-cycle. Some marine crabs require mangrove stilt and prop roots and mudflats to live; shellfish require the soft mud of the mangrove forest floor to survive and the fish and prawns require an area where freshwater meets and mixes with marine water, thus the estuary of Sungai Pulai is an ideal environment for the early developmental stages of their young.

Estuaries are important habitats for marine fisheries as it is a well-known fact that juveniles of certain fish and prawn species prefer lower salinities in the stages of their growth. Penaeid prawns generally spawn in deep waters offshore and their post larvae and juveniles seek shelter and food in the numerous estuaries and creeks that drain mangrove swamps for periods of up to 3 months before migrating into the adjacent sea to mature and spawn. In the Sungai Pulai Mangrove, four Penaeid prawn species and the catfish eel (Plotosuscanius) use the route along Sungai Pulai from the upper reaches along its various tributaries and creeks to the main estuary before they mature and spawn in the open sea of the Straits of Johor. This is an important migration path for the fish and prawns to or from a spawning or feeding ground or nursery. Since Sungai Pulai is dissected by 5 major rivers, hence each individual river mouth play an important role as a nursery ground depending on the extent to which their natural cycles of inundation, tidal exchanges, water fluctuation and nutrients are retained. The five major rivers are Sungai Karang, Sungai Redan, Sungai Jeram Choh, Sungai Ulu Pulai and Sungai Jeram, which play a role in continuously bringing fresh water into the upper reaches of Sungai Pulai estuary. This has a profound effect on the tidal inundation and exchange there and influences Sungai Pulai’s role as an ideal fish and prawn nursery ground. The freshwater inflow into the mouth of these rivers play an important role in providing shelter and food to young juveniles of fish and prawns. Many local fishermen depend on Sungai Pulai for their continuous fish stocks, which is the potential exploitable component of inshore fishing in the area.


Fakta Asas Huraian
Pengisytiharaan Diisytiharkan sebagai Tapak Ramsar di Negeri Johor pada 31 Januari 2003
Keluasan Kawasan meliputi 9, 126 hektar
Kedudukan Geografi Terletak pada kedudukan 01° 23’U 103° 32′ T merupakan kawasan hutan bakau terbesar di Johor.
Kepentingan & Fungsi Sungai Pulai penting:- 1.Merupakan blok kawasan hutan paya bakau terbesar di Johor dan hutan bakau ‘riverine’ yang terbesar di Semenanjung Malaysia. 2.Kawasan tadahan banjir dan menstabilkan pinggir pantai. 3.Sumber kepada penghasilan arang, akuakultur dan eko-pelancongan.
Sejarah Kawasan Sungai Pulai ini merupakan kawasan perhutanan komersial dan aktiviti pembalakan bakau sejak tahun 1928.
Ciri-Ciri Ekologi Huraian
Klasifikasi Hutan Hutan Paya Bakau ‘Riverine’
Geologi Tanah lumpur
Flora Sungai pulai merupakan habitat bagi 24 bakau asli dan 21 spesies bakau berkaitan dan mewakili 84 % spesies bakau di Malaysia.

Hutan Bakau Sungai Pulai boleh dikategorikan kepada 4 jenis vegetasi.

Hutan Avicennia Spesis awal yang mendominasikan kawasan lembangan sungai pulai menghadap ke laut. Antara spesisnyaAvicennia alba(Api-api putih), Avicennia marina(Api-api jambu),Avicennia officianalis and Sonneratia alba(Perepat).

Hutan Rhizophora-Bruguiera Mendominasikan keseluruhan kawasan hutan simpan Sungai Pulai. Antara spesiesnyaRhizophora apiculata(Bakau minyak),Rhizophora mucronata,Bruguiera cylindrica (Berus),Bruguiera parviflora and Ceriops tagal(Tengar). Spesies yang jarang ditemui dan endemik di Malaysia iaituAvicennia lanata(Api-api bulu), ditemui menghadap Selat Johor.

Hutan Luminitzera-Scyphiphora Terdapat di kawasan antara hutan Rhizophora-Bruguiera dan hutan bakau darat. Spesies sepertiLumnitzera littorea and Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea (Cingam), Acrostichum aureum and Acrostichum speciosum(Paku Piai) mendominasikan kawasan ini. Kawasan air tawar pula didominasikan olehNypa fruticans(Nipah).

Hutan Bakau darat Terdapat di kawasan sepadan hutan bakau dan kawasan pertanian. Antara spesisnyaHibiscus tiliaceus(Bebaru),Cerbera odollam(Pong-pong),Podocarpus polystachyus(Podo laut),Intsia bijuga(Merbau ipil),Planchonella obovata(Menasi),Trema corymbosa, Calamus erinaceus(Rotan bakau) danOncosperma tigillarium(Nibong).

Fauna Sungai Pulai kaya dengan kepelbagaian fauna yang bergantung hidup sepenuhnya di habitat bakau. Sungai Pulai adalah kawasan konservasi penting kerana menyediakan ruang mencari makan, tempat tinggal dan kawasan pembiakan. Antara spesis penting yang telah disenaraikan di dalam IUCN Red List adalah 7 amfibia, 12 reptilia, 55 burung, 26 mamalia dan 111 burung. (Environmental Planning Blueprint Vol 2, 2010).

Avifauna 55 spesies burung yang bergantung hidup kepada habitat bakau telah direkodkan di Sungai Pulai seperti Pacat Bakau(Pitta megarhyncha),Mangrove Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis rufigastra), danMangrove Whistler (Pachycephala grisola). Pokok-pokok bakau yang tinggi dikawasan menyediakan tempat bersarang bagi burung Pucung(Ardea cinerea),Helang merah(Haliastur ndus),Helang siput(Haliaeetus leucogaster),Pucong(Egretta garzetta),Helang lebah(Spilornis holospilus)dan Burung botak(Leptoptilus javanicus).

Berikut adalah spesies burung hijrah yang direkodkan di Sungai Pulai seperti Great White Egret(Ardea alba),Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva), Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia), Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)dan Black-capped Kingfisher (Halcyon pileata). (Environmental Planning Blueprint Vol 2, 2010; Johor Ramsar Site’s Management Plan, 2006).

Mamalia 26 spesies mamalia telah direkodkan di kawasan Sungai Pulai, diwakilli oleh 15 famili dan 8 order.

Herpetofauna Berdasarkan rekod Danced Projek Dokumen No 5 1989 terdapat 12 spesies reptilian antaranya Buaya(Crocodylus porosus), Biawak(Varanus salvator),(Bronchocela cristatella) dan mengkarung(Wabuva multifasciata)8 spesies ular telah direkodkan seperti Ular sawa (Python reticulates), Ular katam batu (Bungarus fasciatus), Ular tedung(Naja naja)dan Ular kapak(Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus)yang bergantung hidup di habitat bakau. 7 spesies katak telah direkodkan di kawasan Sungai Pulai seperti(Rana cancrivora). (Johor Ramsar Site’s Management Plan, 2006).

Komuniti Marin Kawasan dataran lumpur Sungai Pulai kaya dengan hidupan marin seperti ketam, udang dan siput antaranyaTelescopium spp.andCerithidea. (Johor Ramsar Site’s Management Plan, 2006). Terdapat juga beting yang ditumbuhi oleh rumput laut terutamanya dikawasan Tanjung Adang. Kawasan rumput laut ini kaya dengan hidupan marin seperti ikan dan udang. Berdasarkan iventori yang dijalankan terdapat; 111 spesies ikan, 22 spesies siput, 3 spesies ketam, dan 15 spesies udang. Antara spesis yang mempunyai nilai ekonomi yang tinggi adalahEpinephalus tauvina (Grouper),Lates calarifer(Sea Bass or Giant Sea Perch), Lutjanus argentimaculatusdanL. johnii (Snappers), Polynemus indicus dan Eleutheronoma tetradactylum (Threadfins), Pampus argenteus (Pomfret) dan Pomadasys hasta(Gerut-gerut). Semua spesies udang disini mempunyai nilai ekonomi. (Environmental Planning Blueprint Vol 2, 2010 ).

Daya Tarikan Eko-Pelancongan Huraian
Sumber semulajadi Hu   Hutan Paya Bakau ‘Riverine‘ terbesar di Semenanjung Malaysia.
Komuniti Setempat Huraian
Masyarakat tempatan Masyarakat Seletar sekitar Kampung Simpang Arang, masyarakat Melayu orang asli dan Cina sekitar kampung Bakar batu, Kampong Peradin.

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