Building over forests messes up ecosystem, says expert

Prof Ahmad: A destroyed forest can never be replaced.

THERE is no such thing as replacing a forest, Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) president Professor Dr Ahmad Ismail says.

“Once a forested area is taken over by development, it will mess up the whole ecosystem.”

Authorities had been reported as saying they had identified the forest reserve in Broga, Semenyih, to replace the 28.3ha in Bukit Lagong, Gombak, where a proposed housing development was to take place.

“That is neither acceptable nor comparable.

“Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve is a watershed that contributes to the supply of clean water for local residents and the indigenous community there.

“It also supports recreational attractions and activities in the area,” Prof Ahmad pointed out.

“The proposed development is located in one of these headwater catchments and any development within the area will definitely result in pollution of waterways and cause inevitable sedimentation problems downstream.”

He emphasised that the proposed development would affect the livelihood of the orang asli living 1.5km away, who depended on the forest resources to generate income and as a source of sustenance.

He was speaking on “Degazettement of Forest Reserves and Protected Areas” at the MNS Tapir Talk public forum series at Universiti Malaya.

Prof Ahmad said the proposed development area was currently pristine with tall and close-canopy forest, although some parts had been subjected to selective logging.

“There are indigenous tree species such as Meranti Tembaga, Meranti Kepong, Merbau and Petai.

“Wildlife footprints also prove it is a rich lowland dipterocarp forest.

“In comparison, Broga is mostly comprised of oil palm trees,” he said.

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