85, Jln. Sultan
Click here to contact us.
Please include your name and contact info so that we can get back to you.
Friday, July 11. 2014
===================================================Lafarge’s encroachment into eco-sensitive areas causes alarm
by patrick lee
The STAR, Thursday March 5, 2015
PETALING JAYA: Quarrying at Perak’s Gunung Kanthan by cement giant Lafarge Malaysia has alarmed green groups, who say work has encroached close to “sensitive” areas. According to a source, a small hill within the limestone mountain’s southern area was cut down in January. He expressed concern that rocks from “Area B” where the hill was located would be strewn along the adjacent “Area C”, causing fears that quarrying there would follow.
Gunung Kanthan, which is home to many endangered species of flora and fauna, is divided into several sections with “Area C” and “Area D” located in the south. Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) president Henry Goh, who confirmed that quarrying had been conducted on the hill, cautioned that the removal of forestry there would have damaging effects on Area C and Area D. The Star previously reported the discovery of two new flora species in Area C, which is also home to nine species that are on Malaysia’s Red List of Endangered Plants. Goh said Lafarge Malaysia had assured him that both Area C and Area D would not be affected. He also claimed that temples embedded in or around the mountain had received evacuation notices. Goh said a biodiversity report by Universiti Malaya, commissioned by Lafarge Malaysia, had not been revealed.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has highlighted its concerns to Lafarge chairman Bruno Lafont in France. “We are concerned to learn that a road is being blasted immediately adjacent to Area C,” IUCN Species Survival Commission chairman Simon Stuart wrote in a Feb 13 letter. He stated that Google Earth images showed the forested valley next to Area C “is being filled with rubble”. It was learnt that Lafarge Malaysia had yet to meet the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) which wanted to preserve Areas C and D.
Speaking to The Star, Lafarge Malaysia vice-president Mariano Garcia maintained that Area C and Area D were out of the mining plans. He said the biodiversity report on Gunung Kanthan was completed before Christmas. Garcia said he did not know of the said evacuation notices, but said monks and temple staff had entered the quarry site and verbally abused his workers. He also said Lafarge Malaysia had been trying to meet FRIM to no avail. “It has been very difficult ... (FRIM) refuses to work with us,” he added.
Bloom is of a new species of plant discovered on Gunung Kanthan
Preserve all of Gunung Kanthan
New flora and fauna species found
The Star - Saturday February 8, 2014
by Tan Cheng Li and Isabelle Lai
PETALING JAYA: Botanists have discovered two new plant species and a new species of gecko within an undisturbed portion of limestone forest on Gunung Kanthan that many fear will be quarried in the near future.
Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) plant taxonomist Dr Ruth Kiew said the new discoveries were further proof that the area, known as Zone C of Gunung Kanthan, near Ipoh, has critical conservation value.
Kiew said they had found a diminutive herb with purple flowers (Gymnostachyum nov) from the Acanthaceae family, and a tree (Vatica nov) from the Dipterocarpaceae family.
“In addition to these two new species, Zone C is also home to nine species on Malaysia’s Red List of Endangered Plants. They are in danger of extinction,” she told The Star.
Kiew said the find was made during one of several plant surveys last year in Zones C and D at the southern portion of Gunung Kanthan to compile a complete record of all plant species there.
Botanists also suspect that the critically endangered Paraboea vulpina of the African Violet family had gone extinct on Gunung Kanthan due to quarrying in the northern portion of the mountain.
The plant was recorded there by the Malaysian Nature Society in its 1991 study, and with its extinction at Kanthan, only two other population sites on other limestone hills remain.
American herpetologist Dr Lee Grismer, who had led a group of local and foreign biologists in surveys of the area last July, has also discovered a new species of gecko there.
Named the Gua Kanthan bent-toed gecko (Cyrtodactylus guakanthanensis), the 7cm-long lizard bears five dark bands on its body and seeks refuge in cracks on the limestone walls.
Grismer said the species appeared to be restricted to the hill, as it was not seen in nearby limestone hills. This makes it the second endemic fauna species in the area, besides the
trapdoor spider Liphistius kanthan.
Perak hills open to destruction, say experts
The Star - Saturday February 8, 2014
PETALING JAYA: Currently, none of the hills in Perak have been gazetted for protection although conservation of the state’s limestone hills has been incorporated into the Ipoh Local Draft Plan 2020 and the Perak Structure Plan 2020.
“We strongly support Ipoh Mayor Datuk Roshidi Hashim who called for 16 prominent hills to be preserved and protected in May last year. The first is Gunung Kanthan,” said Forest Research Institute of Malaysia botanist Dr Ruth Kiew
Dr Lee Grismer, renowned in the scientific fraternity for his discovery of several species of frogs, lizards and snakes in Malaysia, said the hills should not be quarried so as to protect the newly-discovered species.
“These findings add to our other work in limestone areas throughout Malaysia;
that these regions, overlooked by terrestrial biologists, are areas of high biodiversity,” said the biologist from La Sierra University in California.
“As with plants and invertebrates, limestone forests are proving to be significant areas of high herpetological endemism and should be afforded special conservation status rather than turned into cement.
“We have only explored approximately 2% of these formations and their associated forests, and anticipate that tens of additional new species will eventually be discovered as exploration continues,” wrote the scientists when publishing their gecko finding in the journal Zootaxa, where Grismer also jointly described a new species of rock gecko that is found only on Pulau Bidong, Terengganu, named Cnemaspis bidongensis.
Lafarge Malaysia Bhd, which is currently extracting limestone from Zones A and B for cement production, is conducting its own studies in the area, with its Kanthan plant manager Sekar Kaliannan
saying last year that initial studies of Zone C indicated it “does not contain sensitive biodiversity”.
The Lafarge-commissioned a biodiversity study of Zones C and D, which was done by a team from
Universiti Malaya’s Institute of Biological Sciences led by Prof Dr Rosli Hashim, together with Lafarge’s International Bio-diversity Panel (IBP).
Sekar said the results of the study were expected to be made known to the public by March.
“The findings will be presented to our top management in France and to Lafarge’s IBP, before it is shared with the Perak state government,
media and other stakeholders,” he said.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
The author does not allow comments to this entry