The largest mangrove forest reserve in Malaysia with an area of about 40,000ha.
Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve (MMFR) is the largest mangrove forest reserve in Malaysia with an area of about 40,000ha. MMFR is primarily managed for timber production with management plans based on a series of 10-year working plans.
Information retrieved from Romañach, S., DeAngelis, D., Koh, H., Li, Y., Teh, S., Raja Barizan, R., & Zhai, L. (2018). Conservation and restoration of mangroves: Global status, perspectives, and prognosis. Ocean & Coastal Management, 154, 72-82.
The research team had paid a visit to Matang Mangrove Eco-education Centre and the villages nearby to have a deeper understanding about the management status of the mangroves and the local livelihood of coastal communities in the district of Matang. The Matang Mangrove Eco Education Centre was located in Kuala Sepetang, which is in the district of Larut, Matang and Selama located in the state of Perak. Matang Mangrove Eco-education Centre was located in the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve (MMFR). From the field observation, Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve was well-maintained with abundant of mangrove trees which provided the visitors a lush greenery scenic view. With the main cultivation of Rhizophora species, there were also other mangrove species being cultivated such as Lenggadai and Seaward berus in MMFR.
Asides from Matang Mangrove Eco-education Centre, the research team also paid a visit to the local coastal villages and some of the fish farm nearby Kuala Sepetang. Fish farming was a form of aquaculture where aquaculture remains as one of the main socioeconomic activities in Matang. Among fishes that were raised in the fish farm here including grouper, red tilapia, pufferfish and mangrove horseshoe crab. Most of the coastal communities resided in fishing village at Kuala Sepetang where the main industry was fisheries. Two villages that research team visited were Kampung Baru Kuala Sepetang and Kampung Menteri. Asides from fisheries industry, the villagers in Kampung Baru Kuala Sepetang work in seafood restaurants and as ecotourism tour operators. In addition, there was a small fishing village located around 30 minutes from Kuala Sepetang, named Kuala Sangga. Unlike Kuala Sepetang, this fishing village was not connected to mainland and can be only assessed by boat. The villagers at Kuala Sangga still rely on electric generators and rainwater catchment as they have no access to electricity and tap water supply.
Another village the research team visited in Kuala Sepetang was Kampung Menteri. The local communities here mainly work as a fisherman or as a charcoal factory worker. The research team managed to talk with the local communities to gain an insight regarding their livelihood. As for charcoal industry, one of the jobs for male charcoal factory workers was to retrieve the charcoal from the kiln. Our tour guide, Mr Khairul mentioned that before the wood turns into charcoal, the moisture in the wood is drawn out by smoking the wood in the kiln. Hence, when the charcoal is ready to be retrieved from the kiln, the workers will load the charcoal to a truck where the charcoal will be brought to another processing area to be further broken down into smaller pieces for packaging. For female charcoal factory workers, they were mostly in charge of packing the crumbled charcoal into sacks.