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Malaysia Review 2 (Jan-Jul '21): SW Peninsular Malaysia - Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Johor

Welcome to the second installment of the Malaysia review. We’ll be covering the rest of the west coast along with Johor this time.

Before we proceed, here are the raw images used for the analyses for Part 1 & Part 2

Refreshers

1. we are using the 2021 GLAD dataset* (up to 13 Jul) along with

2. Planet satellite images (register free account).

*note: this means forest loss from 2020 will not be included


We will structure each section with

i) a state-level overview followed by

ii) a list of affected forest reserves (FRs) and protected areas (PAs) – if any detected – and

iii) zoom down to explore particularly ghastly-looking areas with the free Flourish slider tool.

Click on the slider on the middle of the images with the Flourish logos (bottom right) and drag the slider either direction to compare Jun 2020 vs Jun 2021 images.


Let’s begin.


Selangor-KL-Putrajaya

Being the most industrialized Malaysian state, we didn’t expect the Selangor-KL-Putrajaya landscape to harbor many hotspots at all. We did not find large hotspots, but the ones detected are listed below after the overview (Figure 1).


Figure 1 GLAD alerts (2021) overlaid with PRF (2011) and Protected Areas in Selangor-KL-Putrajaya (click image to view in high-resolution).


Impacted FRs & PAs include:

1. Sungai Karang – peat swamp forest

2. Raja Musa – peat swamp forest

3. Bukit Tarek

4. Selangor State Park – road construction

5. Bukit Lagong

6. Rantau Panjang

7. Kuala Langat Utara – peat swamp forest

8. Kuala Langat Selatan


Here come the sliders


1. Sungai Karang FR

Figure 1.1 Affected areas in Sungai Karang FR, a peat swamp forest. The land use pattern in the area suggests that it has been degazetted, at least in the affected areas.


3. Bukit Tarek FR

Figure 1.2 Affected areas in Bukit Tarek FR, hill forest.


4. Selangor State Park

Figure 1.3 Affected areas in Selangor State Park with a pattern indicating a road/ powerline being built from Lata Medang across the State Park to Tranum FR in Pahang. The area is separate from the other known projects affecting the State Park (i.e. ECRL & EKVE).


5. Bukit Lagong FR

Figure 1.4 Affected areas in Bukit Lagong FR. This is probably the area that was embroiled in heated discussions in 2019, implicating a Chinese developer. Guess they went on ahead while everyone stayed home?


6. Rantau Panjang FR

Figure 1.5 Affected areas in Rantau Panjang FR. We’re pretty sure that upper-half has been degazetted, but clearing patterns in the lower portion does raise a few questions.


7. Kuala Langat Utara FR

Figure 1.6 Affected areas in Kuala Langat Utara FR. Some digging showed that this area has probably been degazetted a while ago, with Gamuda Cove now bordering the Kuala Langat Utara FR, better known as KLNFR. Nonetheless, since we haven’t gotten an official dataset/announcement indicating that the area has been degazetted, we decided to keep it.


The team is rather surprised at the number of highlights found in Selangor-KL-Putrajaya, but I suppose we shouldn’t be.


Negeri Sembilan

Quaint Negeri Sembilan had a number of significant hotspots outside of FRs & PAs in the south, but only a few moderate cases worth exploring in the FRs. Have a look at the overview below before we list the FRs impacted (Figure 2).

Figure 2 GLAD alerts (2021) overlaid with PRF (2011) and Protected Areas in Negeri Sembilan (click image to view in high-resolution).


Impacted FRs include:

1. Kenaboi (East)*

2. Kenaboi (West)*

3. Pasoh

4. Lenggeng

5. Berembun

6. Triang & Serting

*both FRs apparently have the same name – we assigned them “East” & “West” to differentiate the two by location


Time to explore some hotspots.


1. Kenaboi (East) FR

Figure 2.1 Affected areas in Kenaboi (East) FR.

5. Berembun FR

Figure 2.2 Affected areas in Berembun FR.


Guess there has been some degazettements taking place in Negeri Sembilan. We’d like to say we’re surprised at quaint Negeri Sembilan, but let’s just move on to Melaka instead.


Melaka

Like many states that have done well by getting rid of their forests early, Melaka has shown little hotspots within FRs & PAs (Figure 3).

Figure 3 GLAD alerts (2021) overlaid with PRF (2011) and Protected Areas in Melaka (click image to view in high-resolution).


Only one FR was affected:

1. Bukit Sedanan


We won’t be exploring the hotspot in Bukit Sedanan.


Johor

To end the first of our analyses, we focus on hotspots within Johor’s FRs and PAs (Figure 4).

Figure 4 GLAD alerts (2021) overlaid with PRF (2011) and Protected Areas in Johor (click image to view in high-resolution).


We will be listing affected FRs beginning from the north.

1. Sungai Segamat

2. Labis Tengah

3. Labis Timur

4. Gantian Tenggaroh

5. Semberong Tambahan

6. Jemaluang – peat swamp forest

7. Tanggaroh

8. Ulu Sedili Tambahan (Ldg)

9. Sungai Pulai – Mangrove

10. Sungai Santi - Mangrove


We’ll only be exploring two of these cases.


3. Labis Timur FR

Figure 4.1 Affected areas in Labis Timur FR. This small hotspot was only highlighted because of its proximity with the Endau-Rompin State Park. What could have caused it?


7. Tanggaroh FR

Figure 4.2 Affected areas in Tanggaroh FR. Personally, we do not think this is still a FR.


*Edit 21/7/2021

Two days after this article was published, Sarawak Report published an article about a gold mining joint-venture involving Southern Alliance Mining Ltd, based in Singapore and DYMM Sultan of Johor. Malaysiakini then reported on the matter a day later, specifying one, PTD 216, of six alleged land parcels that will be affected by the venture. Based on Malaysiakini's estimate, PTD 216 is located directly on top of the 7. Tanggaroh FR patch identified above, sandwiched between two large clearings (see Figure 4, between 6 & 7).


One highlight (or low-light, really) is the 7,045.17 ha of forest in Gunung Arong that will reportedly be affected. Based on available information,

1. Gunung Arong [15,947 ha],

2. Gunung Arong (Tadahan Air) [1,150 ha], and

3. Gunung Arong (Tambahan 2) [454 ha] FRs

are all peat swamp forests that should be of the highest priority for conservation due to their immense carbon stocks and scarcity in general. With one of the FRs being labeled "Tadahan Air", it appears that its role as a water catchment is also acknowledged. Anyway, here are the 3 FRs implicated that have not been featured in our analyses so far:

Figure 4.3 Locations of Gunung Arong, Gunung Arong (Tadahan Air), and Gunung Arong Tambahan 2 FRs. These peat swamp forests are apparent targets for an upcoming mining joint-venture between Southern Alliance Mining Ltd. (Singapore) and DYMM Sultan of Johor (Click picture for high-res version).


-end of edit-


And there you have it, the second installment of our Malaysia Review, July 2021. The caveats of the first installment apply, no fingers pointed – this is the best we could do with available datasets.


As we process the images used for the review, we can’t help but wonder:


how much of this was need,

and how much greed?

Which were lawful,

and which ones awful?

Guess we'll never know