Kinabalu Montane Scrub | WWF

Kinabalu Montane Scrub

About the Area

At 4,101 meters, Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Southeast Asia. This ecoregion is a mix of higher elevation shrublands and lower forests as it supports the greatest concentration of wild orchids (more than 77 species), in addition to more magnolia species than in any comparable area.
In total, there are estimated to be over 4,500 species of vascular plants in over 180 families with 950 genera. The fauna is also rich, with 289 species of birds (254 residents), 290 species of butterflies and moths, 7 species of treeshrew (including the endemic mountain treeshrew, Tupaia montana), 28 of the 34 Bornean species of squirrels, and over 90 lowland mammal species.

Local Species
The upper slopes harbour tree-like species of Rhododendron (Rhododendron buxifolium), Heath rhododendron (Rhododendron ericoides), in addition to orchids (family Orchidaceae), pitcher plants (Nepenthes spp.), ferns, mosses, and figs.

Just a few of the characteristic mammals are Mountain treeshrew (Tupaia montana), Grizzled leaf monkey (Presbytis comata), Sunda otter-civet (Cynogale bennettii), Whitehead's pygmy squirrel (Exilisciurus whiteheadi), and the large Pencil-tailed tree mouse (Chiropodomys major).

Among the numerous endemic birds are Mountain serpent eagle (Spilornis kinabaluensis), Red-breasted partridge (Arborophila hyperythra), and Black-sided flowerpecker (Dicaeum monticolum).

Threats include tourism, illegal collecting of rare plants, commercial logging, encroachment, shifting cultivation especially in the lower elevation of western Kinabalu Park, and degazettement of part of Kinabalu Park for mining and golf course development.


4,300 sq. km (1,700 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Montane Grasslands and Shrublands

Geographic Location:
Southeast Asia: northeastern Borneo, in the Malaysian state of Sabah

Conservation Status:
Relatively Stable/Intact

Quiz Time!

Is it true that humans descended from Orangutans?

Believe it or not, we have a lot in common with the orangutans of Borneo: nearly 97 percent of our genes, to be exact! The fact that so many of human and orangutan genes are identical makes our bodies work in many of the same ways. But there are big differences, too. For starters, orangutans give birth only once every eight years.

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