Thursday, January 27, 2011

Species of the Month - Meranti trees

Meranti trees

Shorea acuminata (Meranti Rambai Daun) is one of many meranti trees in the rain forest, and in Taman Negeri Selangor.  These trees grow to gigantic sizes, and form the main framework of the forest. 

Meranti trees are part of the Dipterocarpaceae family.  The genus, Shorea, is reported to be widely distributed, starting from Sri Lanka and India on the west and throughout Burma and other countries of Southeast Asia, up to the Philippines on the east. The greatest concentration of Shorea species is reported to occur in Borneo, Sumatra, and the Malay Peninsula.

Shorea acuminata is one of eighteen species representing several relatively distinct but related botanical groups of Shorea in Malaysia, which are collectively called Red Meranti. They usually grow at low altitudes and prefer well-drained soils.

Red meranti trees grow to be large, magnificent trees, attaining heights of 150 to 200 feet (45 to 60 m), with trunk diameters of 3 to 6 feet (0.9 to 1.8 m). Shorea acuminata is a canopy or emergent trees.  It has hermaphrodite flowers, and the main flower visitors are thrips and/or small beetles. Seeds are dispersed by wind or gravity. 

Meranti trees are much sought after for their timber. Meranti is reported to be the principal source of general utility timbers used in Malaysia. Local consumption of the timber is reported to exceed all others in the country, and it is regarded as one of the most important Malaysian species. It is also reported to be one of the principal export timbers.   Meranti wood is used as building materials, beams, doors, flooring, and furniture among many other uses.

The conservation of the Meranti tree is very important.  Without these big trees, the rainforest structure and ecology will break down.

According to the IUCN Red List, Shorea acuminata is listed as critically endangered, as at 1998.

So let’s protect this beautiful tree species.  Help do your part to protect and conserve Taman Negeri Selangor, and spread the word to your friends about this wonderful park and this magnificent tree!

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