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You Won’t Believe What These 5 Klang Valley Forest Reserves Are Doing for Conservation 

The Klang Valley may seem too urbanised to most people living in its city centre, but there are green lungs in this area of Selangor that you can visit to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. And best of all, for the environmentalists in all of us, these reserves play a vital role in conserving our natural treasures.

Here are just 5 of these Klang Valley forest reserves for you to check out.

#1:KL Forest Eco Park

Located right next to Menara KL, the 10.5-hectare KL Forest Eco Park (formerly known as Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve) is one of Malaysia’s oldest permanent forest reserves, having been gazetted in 1906. As the only patch of tropical rainforest still standing in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, the park serves as the city’s green lung,  and it is home to flora and fauna unique to Malaysia’s tropical rainforest [1].

The forest reserve provides a sanctuary for many species of Malaysian flora including creepers, ferns, rare herbs, giant bamboo grasses and climbers. Huge tropical tree species, such as meranti, keruing, chengal and pulai, can also be found in this jungle. Animals also find refuge in the reserve and if you’re lucky, you might spot a long-tailed macaque or silvered langur while hiking through the reserve[1].

Don’t miss the renowned canopy walk, offering over 200 metres of elevated bridges high above the forest for a bird’s-eye view of the reserve. The entire trail takes only about 10-15 minutes, making it an ideal spot for a stroll where you can fully immerse yourself in the natural surroundings. Some of the elevated bridges soar up to 21 metres in the sky, providing a picturesque backdrop of the Kuala Lumpur skyline [2].

The KL Forest Eco Park is a place where the stresses of urban life can effortlessly melt away amidst the peace and tranquillity of the wild forest.

#2: Taman Tugu

Here’s another forest reserve located in the heart of KL, and the best part is – it’s completely free!

This 66-acre site is part of the Taman Tugu Project, a non-profit corporate social responsibility initiative led by Khazanah Nasional Berhad. It is home to over 4,000 trees representing more than 230 indigenous Malaysian rainforest species. At least 1,000 of these trees are categorised as ‘Endangered’ or ‘Critically Endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), making the reserve a vital sanctuary for these protected species[3].

Source: Taman Tugu

Taman Tugu has a rather interesting history; it is situated on the site of a residential area for British colonial officers, and later, Malaysian government officers. Remnants of the old buildings, such as concrete slabs from the government houses, can still be found, repurposed into benches. Along the Green trail, hikers will even pass swing sets that are remnants from the former houses, now preserved for present-day use [4].

Given its prime location, there were plans to convert the site into a commercial district. Thankfully, Khazanah consulted with the residents and the Malaysian Nature Society and decided to preserve the secondary forest, turning it into a public park[4].

Source: Taman Tugu

Taman Tugu offers several short hiking trails that vary in length, ranging from half an hour to half a day. Some trails lead to alternative entrances into Taman Tugu. However, it’s important to note that not all of these alternative entrances are open at all times. For example, the Padang Merbok entrance (E4) is only accessible on weekend mornings[4].

Although entry into the reserve is free, donations are encouraged as it will help contribute to the reserve’s mission of preserving our green treasures.

#3: Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve

It is difficult to miss the Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve in a satellite image of Puchong; this square of greenery is, sadly, the remnant of a much bigger rainforest, standing as a tragic consequence of unchecked development.

Originally covering 4,270 hectares and gazetted as a forest reserve way back in 1906, it has suffered from a series of de-gazettements throughout the years. Now, it spans only some 1,200 hectares [5].

Despite its reduced size, it still offers a substantial hike and remains a popular hiking destination, thanks to its urban surroundings. The trail, situated next to Persiaran Bukit on the Bandar Puchong side, is well-worn from years of heavy usage by entire families of hikers. The terrain is steep in the early parts and undulates through the jungle, providing plenty of exercise for you[6].

Although Ayer Hitam is not classified as a virgin rainforest, due to the large trees being chopped down, it is still home to many reasonably sized specimens and provides some truly beautiful sights on your hike. Surprisingly, the reserve still has a relatively untouched river basin, as the remaining water catchment area is somewhat enclosed by the surrounding hills and has not (yet) suffered great disturbance. As such, the river waters run crystal clear and are teeming with aquatic life such as fish, shrimp, crabs, algae, and specialised flora [5].

As the surrounding urban areas continue to encroach on this green heaven, you must visit this reserve before it is gone.

#4: Kota Damansara Community Forest Park

It takes a community to protect a forest and nowhere is this lesson clearer than in Kota Damansara Community Forest Park. This 320-hectare lowland mixed dipterocarp rainforest is a mere remnant of the once mighty Sungai Buloh Forest Reserve (6,590 hectares). It would have succumbed to additional housing developments if not for the intervention of dedicated individuals, organisations, and communities, particularly from 2003 onwards.

Thanks to the action and dedication of local communities, Kota Damansara Community Forest Park was officially gazetted as a protected forest reserve on February 10th, 2010. The community remains committed to safeguarding the park against the tide of urbanisation, ensuring that future generations will be able to enjoy the lush rainforests that once covered their living spaces.

Kota Damansara Community Forest is a hiker’s paradise, featuring over 10 well-maintained and clearly marked trails. These trails are arranged in a series of stacked loops, allowing visitors to plan their activities based on their fitness levels and the time available. The Denai 3 Puteri and Unity Peak trail, spanning approximately 6 to 9 km, in particular, offers breathtaking views at the peak overlooking the NKVE Highway in all its glory, providing the perfect shot for your social media accounts[7].

#5: Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM)

Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) is arguably one of the most crucial forest reserves in the entire country, standing as one of the foremost institutions for tropical forestry research globally. Established in 1929, it evolved from the former Forest Research Institute into a fully recognised statutory body. 

On February 10th, 2009, FRIM was designated as a Natural Heritage Site under the National Heritage Act 2005 and was later officially declared a National Heritage Site on May 10th, 2012. The Institute isn’t stopping there, as it is currently working towards being recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As it is also a research institute, FRIM works towards studying various topics related to the forest, including biotechnology, forest products and biodiversity.

Sitting on a 545-ha site adjacent to the Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve in the Kepong municipality, 16 km northwest of Kuala Lumpur, FRIM hosts a variety of must-see attractions set amidst a natural forest environment.

FRIM hosts a variety of nature trails, and trekking along them is one of the most popular activities at the reserve. Led by a nature guide, it takes about two hours to walk through the trails, where you can experience a wide biodiversity of trees, flora and fauna.

Explore our sources:

  1. KL Forest Eco Park. Visit Selangor. Link.
  2. Brigitte & Jake. (2019). KL Forest Eco Park: How to do the Canopy Walk & Fun Hike. Nothing Familiar. Link.
  3. A. Pong. (n.d.). Did You Know: There’s A Lush Forest Park In The Heart Of KL And It’s Completely Free! Says. Link.
  4. Teja. (2023). Taman Tugu is the Best Forest Hiking Spot in Kuala Lumpur. Teja on the Horizon. Link.
  5. JungleBoy. (2012). Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve, Puchong. Rainforest Journal. Link.
  6. Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve. Malaysia Traveller. Link.
  7. TheDigimum. 21 Spot For Hiking In Klang Valley (Beautiful and Family-friendly) – 2023. Link.

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