UTM Recreational Forest
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Recreational Forest is a 53-hectare reserved forest located within the campus vicinity. It offers unique natural beauty comprising hilly topography that is a habitat for diverse species of flora and fauna.
UTM Recreational Forest, which spreads over 3.5 square km, was inaugurated by former Vice Chancellor of UTM, Tan Sri Prof. Ir. Dr. Mohd Zulkifli bin Tan Sri Mohd Ghazali on December 22, 2004. This forest is located in a forest reserved of UTM at 27 / 73m above sea level. Ecotourism Campus was initiated on the 1st October 2009, and with a budget of nearly RM 80,000.00, UTM Recreation Forest was realized. It has been fully governed by the Ecotourism Campus Unit, Services Division, Office of Asset and Development, UTM since then. UTM Recreational Forest also has a range of special privileges and this cannot be found in other Recreational forest is that you can find Herbal Garden, Nadir Plants and the Observation Tower (Phase II development project: 2017-2021).
UTM Herbarium, located in the UTM Recreational Forest, serves as test specimens or samples for Chemical Engineering Pilot Plant (CEEP) in the field of bio-pesticide such as genetic engineering and tissue engineering. In addition, the park also serves as site visits for individual / organization / school / Private and Public Universities who want to gain knowledge about plants and herbs. This 5-acre park also houses a nursery, stores and office sites.
The Herbarium initially housed more than one hundred kinds of herbs to be used as raw materials for research work by CEPP. Among the trees and herbaceous plants are cultivated include:
1. Black And White Chillies (Cili hitam dan putih)
2. Kacip Fatimah
3. Cinnamon (kayu manis)
5. Ylang flower (Kenanga)
6. Magnolia flower (Chempaka)
7. Noni (Mengkudu)
8. Lempoyang (Sc: Zingiber Zermbet)
9. Temu Lawak
11. Cat’s Whiskers (Misai Kucing)
12. Patchouli flower (Nilam)
13. Hempedu bumi
14. Fragrant Lemon Grass (Serai Wangi)
15. Betel Vine (Sireh Kaduk)
Rare Plants (Nadir Plants)
UTM Recreational Forest also has a variety of rare plants that can satisfy and fulfil all communities’ needs through the integration of campus vegetation element in achieving the environmental balance. Nadir Plants is the concept of “Topography of Plants” for the topography for plant. Nadir plants which are near the UTM Recreational Forest covers an area of 4 hectares. The whole area comprises dense rubber plantations and forest shrubs.
The topography of the area is hilly and it has a high altitude of 230 meters above sea level and the lowest of 180 meters. Among the plants that will be planted are as follows:
1. Nona Kapri
2. Nam Nam
4. Keranji (Sc: dialum indum)
5. Tampang (Sc: artocarpus)
6. Mata kucing (Sc: Euphoria malaiense)
7. Temponek (Sc: Artocarpus rigidus)
8. Mentega (Sc; Diospyros blancoi)
11. Rambai (Sc: Baccaurea motleyana)
12. Rukam (Sc: Scolopia steenisiana)
13. Jentik jentik Merah
14. Dried Sour Fruit (Asam Gelugor)
15. Gandaria (Kundang)
16. Mangosteen (Manggis)
17. Remia (Sc: Bouea oppositifolia)
18. Cerapu (Sc: Macroglossus minimus)
19. Jequirity (Kenari)
22. Kandis (Sc: Gracinia forbesil)
23. Chestnut (Berangan) (Sc: Castanopsis motleyana)
One of the privileges of the UTM Recreational Forest is its small rivers or rapids. The water flows from the top of the hill. The water is very cold as it has to go through and as well as because it is surrounded by the natural river stones of varied sizes. The design of the rapids adopts a nature based concept; to develop the areas along both sides of the rapids. This 1 kilometre area of the river banks will also be designed and developed as picnic areas. Some areas have been identified to build the dam by using its own natural resources, ie the stones which are found there in the area. Hence, it will be able to slow down the flow of water from the top of the hill as well as it will produce a huge reservoir of water.
Spring water is formed naturally by the underground water. This spring water is located 120 meters above sea level. There are few places which do not have a lot of water in the reservoir during hot season. However, there are a few spring water holes. The surrounding areas are flourished due to the prolong humid climate. However, unfortunately if there is a heavy rainfall, the area will be flooded.
Before UTM Recreational Forest was declared as a forest reserved in 2004, the area was known as a rubber estate and not being well- managed and well-kept. This caused a variety of wild plants to grow wild around the area. However, the peculiarities in this area with various species of trees what makes UTM Recreational Forest unique. Among the tree species that can be found in this area are Asplenium ridus and deer antlers. This species has a high market value as their leaves have odd characteristics which make it interesting. Another species that can provide as unique and interesting features as Asplenium ridus and deer antlers in the UTM Recreational Forest is the Ferns (Paku Pakis) or also known as Paku Gajah. This plant thrives in the whole area of UTM Recreational Forest. Among other plant species that are identified in this area are Leletop, Senduduk, Leban, Kaduk, Resam, Mahang, Tepuas and such. All plants which are found in UTM Recreational Forest are natural plants and this will be the pilot plants for this forest.
Trails & Footbridges
UTM also provides a number of trails in the UTM Recreational Forest for the entire area that was built over 1,810 meters. All trails in UTM are given the name of a tree such as trail Tepus Trail, Resam Trail, Kaduk Trail, Senduduk Trail, and Mahang Leletup Trail. There are also three bridges to connect the trails and the bridges are Musang Bridge (Weasel Bridge), Landak Bridge (Hedgehogs Bridge) and Memerang Bridge (Otters Bridge). The bridges are named with the names of animals because there were some animals that made their “appearances” during the construction work. Mangrove wood is used for the construction of these bridges because it has high durability and is not easily decompose in water. Each trail has been provided with a sign for the ease of visitors to UTM Recreational Forest.
On 30 April 2016, UTM signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Forestry Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) to develop forest replanting project (reforestation) and herbal plants in the UTM Recreational Forest. UTM has allocated an area of 10 hectares for the project to create a concept of ecotourism campus. Among the species of forest trees grown in this area are Meranti, Seraya and Damar Minyak which is to produce “Dipterokrap” forest. In addition, other tree species which are also planted include Tualang, Petai (Speciosa) and Ara (Figs) in a lower area adjacent to the water flow. 1-hectare area also has been planted with twenty species of bamboo and 1 hectare will be turned into a herbaceous plant which will take three years to complete (from the start of the project). This effort is a part of the Blue Ocean Strategy to make the tropical rainforest as one of the attractions to (potential) new students and to make UTM as their university of choice to pursue higher education.
Facilities & Activities