Sabah National Parks - the Figures &
Forest Reserve Classification
by Herman (October 2006)

Sabah National Parks

There are presently three land national parks and four marine national parks in Sabah, plus a number of wildlife reserves and natural forest reserves. In a most recent development (2006) a nearly 1 mio hectare forest reserve has been announced, to be implemented beginning 2008 especially for the protection of Sabah’s orang-utans.

The national parks are: Crocker Range, Kinabalu and Tawau Hills (land national parks); Pulau Tiga, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Turtle Islands and the most recent addition, Semporna (marine national parks). No information is as per yet available on the Semporna Marine National Park.

Sabah National Parks Forest Cover Coral total ha

% of total landmass

Taman Kinabalu 75370 0 75370 1.02%
Taman Tunku Abdul Rahman 1289  3640 4929 0.02%
Taman Pulau Penyu 15 1725 1740 0.00%
Taman Pulau Tiga 607 15257 15864 0.01%
Taman Bukit Tawau 27972 0 27972 0.38%
Taman Banjiaran Crocker 139979 0 139979 1.90%
Total National Parks  245232 20622 265854


Forest Reserve Classification  in Sabah

Sabah's vast forest resources are divided into many forest reserves of various types. The classification ranges from I to VII as follows:

Class I Forest Reserves
Class I Forest Reserves, or Protection Forest Reserves, are strictly protected.
Total Area: 342216 ha
In % of total forest reserves: 7.0%
In % of Sabah's land mass: 4.6%

Class I forests are conserved primarily for environmental protection and biodiversity conservation. They are protected by law from any form of land conversion or timber exploitation. After the gazettement of the Protection Forest Reserves in 1984, a total of 44 were gazetted as Class I, the last being Maliau Basin Forest Reserve in 1997.

Class II Forest Reserves
Class II Forest Reserves are commercial forest reserves.
Total Area: 2683480 ha
In % of total forest reserves: 76.0%
In % of Sabah's land mass: 36.4%

Class III Forest Reserves
Class III Forest Reserves, or Domestic Forest Reserves, were established mainly to provide forest areas for natives living nearby to hunt, fish and take minor forest produce for their own domestic use, subject to permits.
Total Area: 7355 ha
In % of total forest reserves: 0.2%
In % of Sabah's land mass: 0.1%

Class IV Forest Reserves
Class IV Forest Reserves, or Amenity Forest Reserves, were established mainly to provide recreational opportunities for the general public.
Total Area: 20940 ha
In % of total forest reserves: 0.6%
In % of Sabah's land mass: 0.28%

Class V Forest Reserves
Class V Forest Reserves are Mangrove Forest Reserves.
Total Area: 316024 ha
In % of total forest reserves: 9.5%
In % of Sabah's land mass: 4.3%

Class VI Forest Reserves
Class VI Forest Reserves, or Virgin Jungle Reserves (VJRs). They are intended for research and biodiversity conservation. At present, there some 50 VJRs throughout Sabah.
Total Area: 91914 ha
In % of total forest reserves: 2.7%
In % of Sabah's land mass: 1.3%

Their sizes range from 3 ha to over 18,000 ha. Most of them are situated in the East Coast, on the Kinabatangan Floodplain, and in the southeast, in the Lahad Datu and Tawau regions.

Class VII Forest Reserves
Class VII Forest Reserves, or Wildlife Reserves, are strictly protected.
Total Area: 132653 ha
In % of total forest reserves: 4.0%
In % of Sabah's land mass: 1.8%

They are conserved primarily for the preservation of wildlife and wildlife habitat. There are only two in Sabah, the Tabin Wildlife Reserve (111971 ha) and the Kulamba Wildlife Reserve (20683 ha). The two reserves are managed by the Sabah Wildlife Department. The Tabin Wildlife Reserve is Malaysia's largest.


Vast stretches of Sabah are covered in dense rainforest; its conservation is more urgent than ever!

Mt Kinabalu, Sabah's icon, is surrounded by the Kinabalu National Park, Malaysia's first UNESCO World Heritage Site

Pulau Tiga

Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre in Sandakan

The Maliau Basin, Sabah's lost world and a possible candidate for World Heritage status

Other Features on this site: Get to Know the People:

Note: while every care has been taken in compiling the above information the Flying Dusun Sdn Bhd, its authors and associates cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracy, omission or alteration that may occur. Please contact us or the respective authors for further details and confirmation of facts and figures. © The Flying Dusun Sdn Bhd, 2005-2006; all rights reserved; reproduction in whole or in part without written permission strictly prohibited. 


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