Urbanizations Impact On Forest Area In Kelantan Environmental Sciences Essay


Malaysia is witnessing a rapid growth in the vicinity of urban cities with the construction of large engineering structures (e.g. towers, factories, high-rise condominiums, wide-span bridges and highways) to meet the requirement for the nation’s economic growth, societal activities and the aspirations of its population. This urbanization is the increase over time in the population of cities in relation to the regions rural population.

As we have stated, the growth of cities is frequently implicated in concerns about environmental deterioration. Almost half of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, and for the foreseeable future, urbanization will increase (United Nations, 2001). What is more, urban growth – and population growth generally – in developing countries will outpace that in

industrialized countries. These urban areas, whether small towns or megacities, each develop an

environmental footprint. Although there are important regional differences in the level and trend

of urbanization, city growth has proceeded steadily throughout the developing world (Chen et al,1998).

As we recounted at the outset, many policy makers, government officials, and the like have a negative view of urbanization, who see urban growth as problematic. Environmental concerns would serve to reinforce these overall urban growth concerns. Yet, there is a positive association of urbanization and urban economic development with overall economic growth (NRC, 2003). However, the rapid rise of urbanization has giving more impacts into forest area.

The forest can be define as a woods or the woods and less often as a “wold” (or “weald”), “holt”, or “frith” (or “firth”), is an area with a high density of trees. For the best define to the forest as an ecosystem or assemblage of ecosystems dominated by trees and other woody vegetation.  But in Malaysia, it hard to define about forest. It is because there is a lack of good-quality data about the definition of a forest, the extent of forest cover, loss of forest, (un)sustainable yields, and so on in Malaysia. The official definition of a forest used in Malaysia differs from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) definition, which excludes areas under agricultural crops (e.g. oil palm). In Malaysia, however, the areas under oil palm, rubber and tree crops are frequently regarded as forest. The question of the definition of forests is particularly significant in the Malaysian context where the Malaysian forests are rapidly disappearing and, conversely, ‘forest’ plantations areas are expanding (JOANGOHutan, September 2006).

Malaysia currently has 32.8 million hectares of land area, of which 24.8 million hectares – 75.5 per cent of total land – are classified as forest and tree cover. Of these, 19.5 million hectares are forest cover and 5.3 million hectares are tree cover. Of the total forest cover, 9.2 million hectares (47.4 per cent) are found in Sarawak, 5.9 million hectares (30.1 per cent) are found in Peninsular Malaysia and 4.4 million hectares (22.5 per cent) in Sabah. Sabah claims it has the least forest(JOANGOHutan, September 2006). Although Malaysia is known as the equatorial rain forests of the world due to its location mapped and it`s forested, but the historical fact that the year of between 1990 and 2005 Malaysia lost 6.6% of its forest cover, or around 1, 486 000 hectares. As showed at table 1 for the information about the forest cover in Malaysia , 2010.

Total Land Area (1000 square kilometers)


Total Forest Area (1000 ha)


Percent Forest Cover


Primary Forest Cover (1000 ha)


Primary Forest, % total forest


Other wooded land (1000 ha)


Percent other wooded land


Table 1: Malaysia Information & Data: Forest Cover, 2010

Of course we know that forests bring many benefits to human life, flora and fauna. Right now, the degradation of forest frequently lately happened. It similarly, the same case in Kelantan. Kelantan is the one of the states in Peninsular Malaysia with the largest forest reserve. Unfortunately, the forest in there more to bare area because of deforestation and encroachment activities. Thus, a forest-related law has been established under the amended legislation 313 ( AKTA PERHUTANAN NEGARA 1984).

Deforestation and increased road-building in the Kelantan are a significant concern because of increased human encroachment upon wild areas, increased resource extraction and further threats to biodiversity. Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to agriculture or urban use.

Deforestation occurs for many reasons: trees or derived charcoal are used as, or sold, for fuel or as timber, while cleared land is used as pasture for livestock, plantations of commodities, and settlements. The removal of trees without sufficient reforestation has resulted in damage to habitat, biodiversity loss and aridity. It has adverse impacts on biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Deforested regions typically incur significant adverse soil erosion and frequently degrade into wasteland.

The continuing demand for urbanization in Malaysia in the next few decades of this century suggests the need for planning and implementation on forest area plans or programs which is going to be even more complex in the future than it has been in the past. Environmental impacts from deforestation such as slope erosion, mass movements, sediment yield and decreasing water quality may be expected in the continuous development of the urbanization (Khairlmaini & Fauza,2010).

So that, all the urbanization and deforestation, there have relate to environment implication factor. How much the urbanization of Kelantan is make it and it`s impacts to environmental implication factor? The example environment implication factor can be relate here such as heating temperature, landslide or slope erosion, and loss of natural habitats. Because of that, this paper addresses the issues and challenges affecting comprehensive and holistic outlook towards urbanization. Right now, researcher more concentrates the effect of urbanization in Kelantan and its decreasing of forest area or knowing as deforestation.

Remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) are providing new tools for advancing ecosystem management. (Both of these tools has its own privileges. By viewing the lack of data analysis on the impact of the reduction of forest development, this thesis is done with the help of the two tools above to solve the problems.)

In recent years, as a spatial database management system (DBMS), the Geographic Information System (GIS) has developed powerful tools for visualizing data (Peters and MacDonald, 2004; Fisher and Unwin, 2005; Liao et al., 2010). This development naturally leads to the emergence of new sub-disciplines or interdisciplines and one of them is Historical GIS, in which the GIS provides the investigation tool to study past phenomena, including demographic patterns, changes in land use and geopolitical scenarios (Gregory and Ell, 2007; Knowles, 2008). Since Historical GIS in Malaysia is still relatively lacking, this study was conducted to apply GIS to visualize the effect of urbanization on the forest area in Kelantan.

Area estimation through remote sensing is often used for classification and production of crops statistics. This effort was demonstrated in the past by Gonzales-Alonso et al.(1991), Gallego and Delice (1993), Gonzales-Alonso and Cuevas (1993) and Ferencz et al.(2004). Integration of ground data and classification of remote sensing data is shows a greatest operational feasibility and economical interest that contribute for the benefits of the global society. Remote sensing data has the potential and the ability to provide spatial information at global scale; of features and phenomena on earth on an almost real-time basis.


Malaysia is situated in the Southeast Asia, between latitudes 1 o and 7o north, and longitudes 100o and 119o east. The regions in Malaysia are divided into six regions. There are four regions in Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia), and two regions in North Borneo (East Malaysia). The four regions in Peninsular Malaysia are the northern region (Perlis, Kedah, Perak, and Pulau Pinang), the central region (Selangor, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Negeri Sembilan, and Melaka), the Eastern region (Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang), and the southern region, which consists of just one state, Johor. The two regions in East Malaysia are the Sabah region, which consists of Sabah, and the Sarawak region, which consists of Sarawak. The surface area or total landmass is about 329,847 km2 (127,350 sq mi).

The State of Kelantan lies in the north-east of Peninsular Malaysia. The capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. It is bounded on the western side by the State of Perak and Thailand, it shares it southern and eastern boundaries with the States of Pahang and Terengganu and is bounded on the north-east by the South-China Sea(P.G. PAK-POY & ASSOCIATES (M) SDN BHD etc ,1981). The State contains a fertile alluvial plain, ideal for crops such as rice, tobacco, fruits and vegetables.

Besides coinciding with a national administrative boundary, the physical boundary of Kelantan can be described in topographical terms as a “geographical entity”. It is separated, even isolated, from the neighbouring States of Perak, Pahang and Terengganu by mountains rising to over 7,000 ft. (2,160 m) on its western and southern borders, and to over 4,000 ft. (1,230 m) on portions of its eastern border. It has a narrow coastal plain where unrestrained movements of population and goods occur both into and out of the State(P.G. PAK-POY & ASSOCIATES (M) SDN BHD etc ,1981).

Kelantan covers an area of 14,922 sq. km which is 4.4 percent of the total area of Malaysia, and is administratively divided into ten districts: Kota Bharu, Pasir Mas, Tumpat, Pasir Puteh, Bachok, Kuala Krai, Machang, Tanah Merah, Jeli and Gua Musang.

1.3 Aim

The aim of this thesis is to study the usage of remote sensing and GIS techniques to detect the effect of urbanization on forest area in Kelantan.


Demonstrate the urbanization of Kelantan.

To show the effect of urbanization of Kelantan to forest area.

To produce the website that relate to the effect of urbanization on forest area in Kelantan.


Kelantan has experienced rapid urbanization and its economy has undergone major changes. These changes have led to a significant influx of rural people and migrants to these urban centers, bringing about pressure on local and state governments to provide land for development and infrastructure and housing for growing urban populations.

The urbanization causes of land development activities and environmental destruction. These activities are mining, agricultural land clearing plan, logging, land reclamation in coastal areas, urban development and public infrastructure. All these activities had caused problems and the impact on the environment, which reduces the potential of forest, destruction of natural ecosystems, soil erosion, river siltation, flooding and so forth. Therefore, the acquisition of information, planning and identification of effects of pollution and then to be implemented.

There are three methods for development of Kelantan: Conventional methods, Remote Sensing and GIS methods. Conventional methods are often complicated, costly, time consuming and they cannot to be run in large scale. Therefore it is necessary to use cheaper and faster methods for this development.

GIS and remote sensing techniques were applied to urbanization of Kelantan. That data were used to trace the course of urbanization and the history of urban evaluation and to explore the pulse of urban development. Those techniques also can be used to analyzing the trends and estimating the changes that occurred in management decision making process. Therefore, it gains a deeper understanding of problems such as population factor, economy factor, infrastructure factor and administrative factor.


Application of Remote Sensing and Gis in Urbanization

Remote sensing technology has been recognized as useful means of supplying up to date information on activities, within the urban environment (Lillesan and Kiefer, 1990). A set of monograph and teaching materials about urban remote sensing and GIS have been available (Gong,1997: Song and Yeh, 1995).

Remote sensing makes it possible to measure such as (ultra violet, infrared, microwave, etc) at wavelength that cannot be reached by human vision. Although remote sensing is useful in array of areas, its usage is most significant in the context of terrestrial observation and most to urbanization.

The government considered that the lack of a comprehensive urban development plan was a major constraint to the effective development ( P.G. Pak-Poy, Associates (M) Sdn. Bhd, Alam Bina Yuncken Freeman, MIDF Industrial Consultants Sdn Bhd, and ESA Jurutera Perunding, 1981). Among such problems are a high rural-urban migration rate, urban congestion, increase of squatters and poor housing. To overcome or at least to reduce this problem, many researchers (Richardson, 1978, Hardoy and Satterthwaite, 1986, Rondinelli, 1983a and 1983b) have come up with the idea of strengthening smaller places in particular intermediate cities and small town.

It is believed that the promotion of an effective hierarchy of urban centers is the most important spatial element in a regional development strategy. GIS software (ArcGis) from ESRI enables law enforcement personnel to capture and create an integrated picture of information in the form of interactive maps and reports on the desktop, laptop, handheld, or in the emergency vehicle.

Application of Remote Sensing and Gis in Forest Area

Since the concept of sustainable development cannot be defined, indicators should be developed to determine levels and duration of sustainability (Zinc and Farshad, 1995). Therefore, remote sensing and GIS used to solve problems occurred mainly on the forest area that are thinner right now in Kelantan. The main causes of forest degradation today are illegal deforestation and the collection of fuel wood, open mining activities, unsustainable use of Non Timber Products (NTP) and resulting forest fires. Statistics on deforestation and forest degradation are very inconsistent.

Remote sensing technology used to observe the earth feature from the space fundamentally and there are several techniques to differentiate the information collected from RS of our interest i.e. forest or vegetation (resource) information, hydrographic information, agricultural information, land information and others. The remote sensing product (satellite imageries) will support to analyze the real earth situation of the resources that may be by type of the resources, by stock level of the resources, or by other spatial extent of the resources.

“GIS technology helps us organize the data about problems and understand their spatial relationship associations and provides a powerful means for analyzing and synthesizing information about them.” (Aronoff, p.1). GIS is designed for the collection, storage, and analysis of objects, and phenomena where geographic location is an important characteristic or critical to the analysis. GIS can be a system of hardware, software and procedures to facilitate the management, manipulation, analysis, modeling, representation and display of geo-referenced data to solve complex problems regarding deforestation of Kelantan.

Evaluation Remote Sensing Implementation in Malaysian Forestry

Due to the unfavorable climate conditions of the country (heavy rain and thick clouds), the acquisition of aerial photographs has been costly and uncertain in various parts of Malaysia. Satellite remote sensing techniques were introduced in Malaysia during the early eighties under auspices of the National Remote Sensing Program (NRSP), initially implemented by Economic Planning Unit (EPU) but later by the Agency Remote Sensing Malaysia (ARSM) of the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment (Norul Atiqah Hafzleeza Aznie Abd Manan, 2010).

Over the last couple of decades conventional remote sensing, has played an important role in Malaysia forestry. Black and white panchromatic Apps have been used extensively in forest stratification and location for the purpose of forest inventory and forest management. Remote sensing application in Malaysian forestry has not developed beyond the normal use of Aps because of lack of expertise equipments and materials. Based on experience elsewhere and rapid rate of advancement in technology, it is believed that the scope for remote sensing application in Malaysian forestry can be expanded significantly to include other non-conventional systems. Color, black and white infra-red, and false-color photography, besides satellite imageries for small scale inventory, are some of the systems, to mention a few. The application of satellite remote sensing system is limited by its poor spatial resolution. The agencies that are involved in the application of remote sensing in Malaysian forestry are the Department of Forestry, Forestry Research Institute and the Forestry Faculty of the Agricultural University of Malaysia (Nik Nasruddin Mahmood,1980).












This early research can be divided into two parts, the study area and identify problems encountered and plans to be done. The study area chosen was the state of Kelantan. Why choose Kelantan?

Kelantan once filled with forests. Due to the rapid development, the forest is more or less extinct. This contributes to the effects of the natural life of such as habitat of flora and fauna, atmosphere and others.

Thus, the problems encountered in the area identified by obtaining information from the Department of Forestry and the State Environment Department to find out more about this. With this, a plan or action can also be move out to prevent the reduction of forest in the state of Kelantan.


Data collection is the significant part before conducting any study because we need the data to perform the study successfully. Inadequate and unsuitability will affect the whole result in the end of the study. The data used to do this research was to use satellite images and topography map covering the area of Kelantan. Three types of satellite images named of spot five with different five years used and the scale; 1:50 000 are provided by Remote Sensing Department of Malaysia. While the topography map of Kelantan obtained by Department of Surveying and Mapping.


Remote sensing data were processed using software supplied by UiTM. Among the software to be used was ERDAS. This software allows the analysis performed well in classification colors. A large number of proprietary and open source applications exist to process remote sensing data. GIS software also was used in this study to generate information needed.


The result of this study is to make comparison statistic of deforestation of Kelantan using remote sensing and GIS techniques.



The result of this study is expected to make comparison statistic of deforestation of Kelantan.

The result will be shown in map and in website.

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