SOME six hectares of land in Section 12, adjacent to Universiti Malaya (UM) has over the years turned into a biodiversity haven.
The land has some 30 abandoned bungalows that were once occupied by the professors and lecturers who taught at the university in the 1970s, with the last occupant having moved out in 2011.
In 2012, there were plans to convert the site into a Health Metropolis under the Federal Government’s Economic Transformation Programme.
The RM1.25bil project is still unapproved by the Selangor government which is waiting for details requested from the developer.
Meanwhile, seeing the wealth of flora and fauna thriving in that little corner, a group of mostly first-year undergraduate students from the Science faculty and several UM alumni researchers carried out the Rimba Section 12 Project to identify and record all the species here including plants, insects and semi-aquatic frogs.
Some 386 trees from 47 species were documented.
A research team leader, Benjamin Ong said about 88% of the trees had medicinal or commercial value.
The team also found three types of eagles including Brahminy Kite (Haliastur Indus) and a migratory raptor called the Crested Serpent Eagle in the vicinity.
They also found owls, bats and uncommon fireflies species which only breeds in clear water in the area.
He said fireflies were an indicator species for the health of the environment, as they were among the most sensitive species and susceptible to diseases or pollution.
The site is also home to forest species of butterflies such as Appias Libythea, Eurema Sp, Junonia Orithya, Acraea Sp, Euploea Algae and Cepora Pomona.
“Some 15 species of butterflies found in Section 12 favour all these habitats, hinting at the forest potential of the area.
He said the suburban Section 12 site could rehabilitate itself into a healthy forest ecosystem.
Ong believes it is possible to conserve the little pockets of “city forest.”
“We have such a rich wildlife on this six hectares. We only had a month to do the research and we manage to find so much. If we had more time and more experts on board, we may discover more species of flora and fauna.