Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Alignment Continues to Threaten Water Security

From the NST

Judging from media reports, it appears that the KLORR will now cut through the Hulu Gombak Forest Reserve, in addition to the Ampang Forest Reserve, both of which are water catchment forests gazetted as part of Taman Warisan Negeri Selangor.

Under the original alignment of the highway, the KLORR was going to cut through the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge and run over the Klang Gates Dam.  This alignment was criticized by residents and environment organizations for many reasons.  Two prime reasons were the globally unique ridge, and the other was water security.

Reports seem to indicate the building of a tunnel in the vicinity of the Ridge of which the impact on the Ridge is unknown.  The new alignment still poses a very real threat to water security for Kuala Lumpur and in fact increases the threat.  The Hulu Gombak Forest Reserve, which earlier was not affected by the KLORR, now appears to be cut through by the expressway.

It is often mistakenly thought that keeping land in their original forested state is lost economic opportunities that could have been gained by “developing” the forest into something more usable by people. 

Studies have shown that economically speaking, if the water from a forest catchment is supplied to the local population, the best land use option for the forested area was protection, as opposed to use for purposes such as timber extraction, or building a road.

These studies have shown that the benefits of clearing the forest were lower than the additional costs of water treatment.  The removal of forests will increase the sedimentation in the rivers due to heavy soil erosion on the steep slopes, and increase the levels of pollution of the rivers due to road run-off – increasing costs for water treatment, possibly even jeopordising the ability to treat the water at all. 

Over the years, the state government has felt the Hulu Gombak forest reserve was a critical water catchment area, so much so that the area has been triple gazetted – as ‘state park’ and ‘water catchment’ under the National Forestry Act, Selangor Enactment, as well as ‘water catchment’ under the Selangor Waters Management Authorities  Enactment 1999.
Furthermore, it is even more disheartening to learn that the new alignment is purported based on the concerns raised by residents and NGOs.  The new alignment does nothing to reduce these concerns.  Claiming that the new alignment does address our concerns is very misleading.

Keeping the Selangor State Park in its natural forested state is actually saving the country billions of ringgit through the services the Park provides to the country, for free.  The KLORR will result in profits that will really benefit only a few.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Phobaeticus serratipes - that's one big bug!

Kingdom:  Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda
Class:  Insecta
Order:  Phasmatodea
Family:  Phasmatidae
Genus:  Phobaeticus
Species:  serratipes

Phobaeticus serratipes (formerly known as Pharnacia serratipes)  is one species of stick insects.  It is endemic to Peninsular Malaysia.  And it is one big bug! (although technically, it is not a bug, but I can’t help myself!)

At one time, Phobaeticus serratipes was known as the longest insect in the world, with one female being recorded at 555mm (with legs fully extended).  However, specimens of Phobaeticus chani and Phobaeticus kirbyi have now been recorded as longer.

This insect likes warm and humid weather.  It is nocturnal, and lies still during the day, using its body shape as camouflage. It takes 4-5 months for their eggs to hatch.  Females are commonly green or brown.  Males are much shorter than females, and have a blue and black stripe along the sides of the thorax.  The males have wings but cannot fly.

Phobaeticus serratipes are plant eaters, feeding on leaves and berries.  It has the unusual ability of partial regeneration, where if a leg is lost, it will grow back after several successful molts.

Phobaeticus serratipes is a popular species that is raised in captivity, with a lot of on-line discussion and exchange going on.   But it’s IUCN threat status is not evaluated. 

If you see a stick insect in the wild, admire it but do not disturb it.  Let’s hope that this beautiful insect is thriving in the wild, including the Park!

Sources of info:
and the Selangor Forestry Department

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sites in the Park Ranked as Top Hiking Destinations!

The STAR sent out mass e-mails to nature buffs and eco-tour guides to determine the top spots for hiking, biking, paddling and climbing in Malaysia.  And proudly, at least 2 sites within the Park are the top hiking spots in Selangor!  (read the article )

The Klang Gates Quartz Ridge topped the list for both the best hiking spot in the Klang Valley (particularly the western section, known as Bukit Tabur) and for the best mountain biking spot (the trails along the foot slopes at the eastern section, around Kemensah).

Gunung Nuang, the highest mountain in Selangor, was also rated top hiking spot in the Klang Valley, especially as a training ground for tougher hikes like Mt. Kinabalu.

Both locations are very popular with outdoor enthusiasts, and both offer exciting challenges while enjoying nature's beauty.  Sadly, these areas in particular are under a lot of pressure from human activities and development, so we've got to act to protect them as much as we enjoy them.

So it's time to leave the shopping malls behind, and get out and enjoy the beauty of Taman Negeri Selangor!