Setiu Wetlands consists of nine interconnected ecosystems – the sea, rivers, sandy beaches, estuaries, islands, mudflats, a lagoon, freshwater swamps and mangroves.
Four rivers feed the wetlands – Setiu, Chalok, Bari and Merang
14km-long inland sea lagoon.
It is only in Setiu that one can find painted terrapins, river terrapins, and green turtles all in one area.
Parts of the Setiu coastal plain consists of beach ridges interspersed with swales, commonly known by its acronym, BRIS. Some of the village named after BRIS such as Kampung Beris Tok Ku.
The gelam putih tree or Melaleuca Cajuputi grows well in BRIS areas, forming gelam or Melaleuca forest.
Cucur atap (Baeckea frutescens) has a tiny leaves and gnarled branches, a popular bonsai plant.
Pulau Layat, a mangrove-covered island
in Setiu lagoon, the rare Bruguiera hainesii –IUCN Red List of
Threatened species, this tree is listed as naturally rare, with small
and scattered distribution. So far, only 200 trees are known to exist:
80 trees in Malaysia, 120 in Papua and three in Singapore. Locals call
the tree berus mata buaya because of the large respiratory cells on its
Pulau Telaga Tujuh, ant plants (Pokok Sarang Semut, Kepala Beruk) Hydnophytum formicarum hang from almost every tree. Sometimes as many as four or five adorn a single branch. Ant plants live in a mutualistic association with a colony of ants. They provide nectar and space for the ants, which in return protect them against herbivores.
The presence of rare plants indicates the health of Setiu mangroves.
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