The significance of the impact of human land use on naturalness of protected areas was measured using the Hemeroby Index (simply, hemeroby) at the inside and outside of each study area over the three decades (i. e., 1988, 1996, 2005). This index is an integrative measure for the degree of human impact on ecosystems in a particular area and the organisms that inhabit it (Sukopp 1976, cited in Steinhardt et al. 1999). In this study we follow Abdullah et al. (2009) to define the human

Degree of hemerobya



Degree of naturalnessa




Vegetation cleared


Built-up area


Destruction for man-made ecosystems, land clearing, or abandoned with patchy and/or no vegetation

Strange to natural

Cleared land, water body


Very limited removal of trees, managed logging scheme


to natural



Agricultural with application of fertilizers

and drainage systems, managed cropland schemes

Relatively far or far from natural

Oil palm, rubber


Once cleared and in succession process with occasional removal by humans



aBased on Sukopp (1976, see Steinhardt et al. 1999) bBased on Abdullah et al. (2009)

impact, which corresponds to naturalness as in Sukopp (1976, cited in Steinhardt et al. 1999) (Table 12.2). The following is the calculation of the index:

M = 100Xm —h (12.1)

h=1 m

where m is the number of categories of hemeroby, fm is the proportion of the area of the category m, and h is hemeroby linear factor (i. e., h = 1 for minimal and h = m for maximum). M is equal to 100 if the whole area is classified as metahemeroby.

At the inside, the high degree of human impact was very obvious in Bukit Sungai Puteh and Klang Gate because of their adjacency to the urban conurbation of Kuala Lumpur. Nevertheless, the most severe was Bukit Sungai Puteh, where the hemeroby increased tremendously from about 30 % to almost 70 % by 2005 (Fig. 12.7a). In Klang Gate the degree of human impact fluctuated, ranging between 20 % and 40 % (Fig. 12.7c). The ecosystems in Segamat and Chior were also among those most impacted by human land use. The hemeroby in Segamat steadily increased from less than 5 % in 1988 to almost 40 % in 2005 (Fig. 12.7g), whereas it remained the same in Chior (between 30 % and 40 %) (Fig. 12.7l). In Endau- Kluang, Endau-Rompin Pahang, Endau-Kota Tinggi Barat, Fraser’s Hill, and Bukit Kutu the impact was low, which was most probably attributable their large size and location at hilly sites. Nonetheless, of most concern are Endau-Kota Tinggi Barat and Endau-Kluang, because their hemeroby increased gradually. This pattern corresponds to the pattern of hemeroby in their surroundings, which is also true for Bukit Sungai Puteh. However, the surroundings of Bukit Sungai Puteh were the most degraded, with the hemeroby reaching almost 70 % in 2005.

At their outsides, the hemeroby of all protected areas, except Segamat, Chior, and Klang Gate, was slightly higher in 2005 than in 1988 and 1996. This observa­tion suggests that over the decades the intensity of land development has spread toward the protected areas. In fact, protected areas with management plans and staff

Fig. 12.7 Degree of hemeroby at the inside and outside of protected areas in 1988, 1996, and 2005: Bukit Sungai Puteh (a), Endau-Kota Tinggi Barat (b), Klang-Gate, Endau-Kluang (d), Endau-Rompin Pahang (e), Fraser’s Hill (f), Segamat (g), Sungkai (h), Bukit Kutu (i), Sungai

Dusun (j), Templer (k), and Chior (1)


for monitoring also suffered the same situation, for example, Sungai Dusun. It is most alarming, obviously, if the protected area has no management plan and staff. Their location, either adjacent to forest reserves, oil palm, or rubber, also has an important role to these circumstances. In this context the most typical example is Bukit Sungai Puteh, where the demand for housing development has caused the clearance of many hectares of forest reserve and oil palm and rubber areas. In Segamat, the hemeroby on the inside was higher than on the outside by 2005,

which suggests that land development (particularly for agriculture) became intense on the inside. In case of Chior this probably occurred earlier, because in 1988 the hemeroby on the inside and that outside were very similar.

12.5 Conclusion

The development of protected areas in peninsular Malaysia has been influenced by both the socioeconomic and political scenarios of the country. Generally, the development trends can be divided into the colonial period and the national period. In the colonial period, the in situ approach was mainly applied. During this period, most of the protected areas were established at remote and mountainous sites, driven by the intense land development of rubber and oil palm at the lowland areas. However, most of the establishment happened between the 1920s and the 1930s, and in terms of coverage it was primarily represented by Taman Negara. Since then, development was slowed down and halted in the 1940s, partly because of World War II. Afterward, the number and the extent of protected areas remained similar until the country received independence in 1957. The effort continued after that year, but the number and size of areas increased only slightly. In the national period, the ex situ conservation approach was started, possibly driven by the reduction in population of several animal species caused by forest fragmentation and habitat degradation.

Generally, over the three decades (1988,1996, and 2005) all protected areas were exposed to various land use activities. Intensity of human land use inside the protected areas was apparently concomitant to what happened on the outside. The most severe were the changes in Bukit Sungai Puteh followed by Segamat, Chior, and Klang Gate. Except Klang Gate, at present, all these reserves are fragmented; for Bukit Sungai Puteh and Klang Gate, the urban sprawl of Kuala Lumpur City is the main threat to their sustainability, whereas rubber and oil palm plantations are the main threats for Segamat and Chior. Hemeroby analysis shows that Bukit Sungai Puteh, Segamat, Chior, and Klang Gate are vulnerable to any further land use development. Endau-Kota Tinggi Barat, Sungkai, Bukit Kutu, Sungai Dusun, and Templer are considered highly threatened; less threatened reserves include Endau-Kluang, Endau-Rompin Pahang, and Fraser’s Hill. Nevertheless, other fac­tors such as social, economic, physical (e. g., topography), and political (border) should be taken into consideration in future analysis to understand the link between development trends and landscape changes in wildlife protected areas, which is pivotal to improve conservation planning for reasons of both sustainability and sustainable development of the country.

Acknowledgments This study is part of a research project ScFund 04-01-02-SF0378 entitled “Landscape ecological assessment of protected areas in peninsular Malaysia for sustainable conservation planning” funded by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Malaysia.