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World's new tallest tree in Tawau Hills Park
Published on: Sunday, July 15, 2018
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World's new tallest tree in Tawau Hills Park
Tawau: The Tawau Hills Park, located some 24 kilometres from town here, is home to giant tropical trees and the world's new tallest tropical tree at 96.9 metres.The tree of Shorea faguetiana species from the Diptercarpaceae family, located about 9.5km from the Park's main station, was discovered on May 28, this year.

According to studies, the reason why giant trees can grow to such extreme height at the Park is because of its rich, fertile volcanic soil and high volume of rainfall.

For many years, the world's tallest tropical tree has been recognised in the Tawau Hills Park at a height of 88.32m (Shorea faguetiana family: Dipterocarpaceae), which is located 900 metres from the Park's main station.

Deputy Chief Minister cum Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew launched the new discovery after visiting the Park on Friday, accompanied by Sabah Parks Director Dr Jamili Nais.

Sabah has always been known to harbour giant tropical trees in the world, with the two records in the Tawau Hill Parks, apart from similar species of slightly taller tree (89.5m) found at the Maliau Basin Conservation Area in 2016.

Also, in 2016, the then tallest tree in the world was found at the Danum Valley Conservation Area at 94.1 metres.

The Tawau Hills Park, with a total area of 27, 972 hectares, was gazetted in 1979.

The primary aims of its gazettement are to protect the water catchment for the people of Tawau and Semporna peninsula, to preserve the forests for wildlife sanctuary and to preserve areas of scenic beauty for amenity and recreational purposes.

There are three main peaks in the form of extinct volcanoes, which were last active about 27,000 years ago, namely Mt Magdalena (1,310m), Mt Lucia (1,201m) and Mt Maria (1,020m).

The Park, also popularly known as Table among locals here, recorded a total of 63,357 visitor arrivals in 2017, comprising 62,087 Malaysians and 1, 270 foreigners.

The number was lower compared to 2016, which recorded 67,693 visitors comprising 66,571 Malaysians and 1, 122 foreigners.

Meanwhile, the Park's spokesperson said Sabah Parks commissioned a management plan study for the Tawau Hills Park in 2015, conducted by the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) Sabah, where the management plan will be re-evaluated this year to implement some of the medium-term development plan.

Four development plans to be re-evaluated are:

- First: The enhancement and beautification of the entrance complex and the recreation area for creating an attractive boulevard tree-lined entry road.

- Second: Upgrading of the network of trails leading to the natural pool of hot water springs, upgrading the trail from Park's main station to the Sulphur Hot Spring by introducing good buggy car and cycling tract and introducing attractive sign boards offering interpretation nature at the park.

- Third: Redevelopment of the recreation area as a Boutique Natural Hit Springs Resort and the facility be developed to a high standard with the appeal to both international and domestic markets.

A number of natural looking and free flowing thermal pools will be created utilising the steam from the geothermal bore field whilst noting that technology allows for easy pumping of water away from the bore field and at acceptable costs.

- Fourth: Construction of a canopy walkway and zipline/flying and to become the longest and highest zipline in Sabah/Borneo.

The canopy walkway will be offered at two levels; a much higher level for bird watchers, in particular, and to encourage specific dawn and dusk tours, and a lower level canopy walkway for the vast majority of visitors. - Lagatah Toyos


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