Research Shows Fraser’s Hill Still Pristine

Research Shows Fraser’s Hill Still PristineBy Asmahanim Amir
Pix Abd Ra’ai Othman

BANGI, 20 May 2015 – Fraser’s Hill in Pahang is still intact and its surrounding forests are pristine with rich biological diversity because the development of the area was well-planned.

A lecturer from the School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology (FST), Prof Dr Sahibin Abd Rahim said research carried out by a group of scientists in the area 1,524 metres above sea level found that Fraser’s Hill is an area of well-kept forest reserves with planned development and not tainted by logging.

“At the forested area, we calculated the erosion using the Musle (forecast of generated sedimentary) and Rusle (forecast of rate of erosion) which detected not much change although there was heavy rainfall,” Prof Sahibin told the UKM News Portal at the 2015 Raub-Fraser’s Hill Corridor Scientific Seminar here, yesterday.

He explained that if the studies were done only at the exposed areas, the rate of erosion would be high, but the research area is small and generally the erosion at  developed areas of Fraser’s Hill is still modest and under control.

“So the research area is at land being explored. Unless they (the State Government) implements larger development, then only we might see a decline in the quality of soil,” he said.

He clarified the studies are ongoing because researchers can’t get enough data only once.

“This research must continue. We have been doing this for a long time. We send our students to study soil erosion, soil quality, and types of land, for obtaining accurate results.

“This is a highland. So we need to look for soil erosion, if there are any changes or additional land use in the area, we need to monitor. The indicator that we use in this research is soil erosion,” he said.

According to him, the state corporation only allows development in selected areas and there are no logging activities in that area.

“So, the level of soil erosion is still low and quality of land is good. One of the factors needed is to maintain this condition. If they want to develop this area, the developers must undertake activities that do not interfere with the land exploration and should be done in a controlled manner,” he explained.

Studies at Fraser’s Hill also showed that the land is not suitable for agriculture because the land texture is sandy and the slopes are quite steep.

Prof Sahibin said research indicated the land has high sand content of 60 to 83 per cent.

“The land texture formed from Porphyry Granite and Meta sandstone can be easily eroded and is not suitable for agriculture,” he said.

He said although that environment is cool like the Cameron Highlands, it’s not a good area for farming.

“Land in this area has high topography and morphology. The steep slopes and sharp crests are also natural factors resulting in the area being unsuitable for agricultural activities,” he added.

Meanwhile, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International Affairs), Prof Dato’ Ir Dr Riza Atiq Abdullah, while launching the event, expressed hope the seminar  covered  the protection of unique plants, the socio-economic status of the local communities and the potential for eco-tourism.

“UKM is committed to creating a leading research centre that elevates human capital and intellectual. With passion and expertise, research at UKM and other universities should be able to further enhance innovation to ensure that the research project undertaken benefits the country and society,” he said in his speech.

About 30 studies conducted by researchers from UKM, International Islamic University of Malaysia (UIAM), Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) and University of Malaya (UM) were presented at the seminar with the theme Sustainable Environment for Global Prosperity.

The Seminar organised by the FST was to present the findings of the Raub-Bukit Fraser Corridor Scientific research expedition which was carried out on 16th to 21st October 2014.