ABOVE: The large hairy fig fruit of Ficus cucurbitina. This fig was fruiting in the forest near the Tawau Hills Park HQ building on 19 June 2019. All fig photos by Shavez Cheema.
Daily Express 15 July 2018 Tawau: The Tawau Hills Park, located some 24 kilometres from Tawau in Sabah, 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 9.5 km from the Park’s main station, was discovered on May 28, 2018.
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 88.32 m (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. Daily Express 15 July 2018