Malaysian Applied Biology Journal

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27-1&2-01

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Malays. Appl. Biol. (1998) 27(1 & 2): 1-11

CONSERVATION AND UTILISATION OF BOTANICAL DIVERSITY IN MALAYSIA

A. LATIFF

Department of Botany and Institute for Environment and Development Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

ABSTRACT

The rapid rate of socio-economic development, mainly through industrialisation, that is quickly spreading to the forested hinterland, and the promise of ecotourism, yet to be discovered cures, and new agricultural frontiers for food production, have increased the concern for the conservation of biodiversity. Biodiversity encompasses all species of plants, animals and microbes, and the ecosystems of which they are part. It is usually considered at three levels, viz. ecosystem, species and genetic. Plant diversity is represented by about 15,000 species with flowering plants constituting about 80% of the total number. In the absence of concrete data of plant diversity it is difficult to ascertain the list of endangered or otherwise threatened species to account for diversity loss. The introduction of exotic and weed species into the country poses an ecological problem for the indigenous species. At the moment almost all food production is ensured by the introduced clones and cultivars. The utilisation of indigenous species and their genetic variation is still at infancy phase. The just formulated National Policy on Biodiversity promises a wise use of biodiversity and conservation. This paper will highlight the country's botanical diversity, its value, threats to it and further action that is needed in order to conserve it and achieve sustainable development.


ABSTRAK

Kadar pembangunan sosio-ekonomi yang sangat pesat, terutamanya melalui pengindustrian, yang kini sedang merebak ke kawasan hutan pendalaman dan jugajanji-janji pelancongan ekologi, penemuan ubat kepada penyakit dan peluang pertanian baru untuk pengeluaran makanan, telah meningkatkan keprihatinan bagi pemuliharaan kepelbagaian biologi. Kepelbagaian biologi merangkumi semua spesies tumbuhan, haiwan dan mikrob, dan ekosistem yang menjadi sebahagian daripadanya. la lazim dipertimbangkan pada tiga tahap; iaitu ekosistem, spesies dan genetik. Kepelbagaian tumbuhan diwakili oleh kurang lebih 15,000 spesies dengan tumbuhan berbunga yang mencakupi kurang lebih 80% daripada jumlah bilangan tumbuhan. Dengan tiadanya maklumat yang jitu mengenai kepelbagaian tumbuhan adalah sangat sukar untuk menentukan senarai spesies yang terancam ataupun dalam bahaya bagi menentukan kehilangan kepelbagaian. Pengenalan spesies eksotik dan rumpai ke dalam negara kita telah memperkenalkan masalah ekologi bagi spesies tempatan. Kini hampir semua pengeluaran makanan telah disumbang oleh klon dan kultivar yang diperkenalkan dari luar negara. Penggunaan spesies tempatan dan variasi genetiknya masih di peringkat awal. Dasar Kepelbagaian Biologi Kebangsaan yang baru dirumuskan menjanji penggunaan yang wajar dan pemuliharaan kepelbagaian biologi. Kertas ini akan memaparkan kepelbagaian tumbuhan negara, nilainya, ancamannya dan tindakan lanjutan yang harus diambil bagi pemuliharaan dan pembangunannya secara lestari.

Key words: Botanical diversity, conservation, utilisation

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