Malaysian Applied Biology Journal

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46_04_04

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Malays. Appl. Biol. (2017) 46(4): 23–33

THE IMPACT OF HYDROELECTRIC DEVELOPMENT ON

ELEPHANT HABITATS IN HULU TERENGGANU

DAVID MAGINTAN1,2*, TUKIMAT LIHAN2, KHAIRUL AMIRIN MOHAMED1,

AHIMSA CAMPOS-ARCEIZ3, SALMAN SAABAN1, SHAHRIL MOD HUSIN4

and SHUKOR MD NOR2


1Department of Wildlife & National Parks, Km10, Jln Cheras,56100, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Faculty of Science and Technology,

School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

3School of Geography, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Jalan Broga,

43500 Semenyih, Selangor Malaysia

4TNB Research Sdn. Bhd., No. 1, Lorong Air Hitam, Kawasan Institusi Penyelidikan,

43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia

*Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Accepted 1 November 2017, Published online 31 December 2017

 

ABSTRACT

The development of a hydroelectric dam in Tembat and Petuang Forest Reserve, Hulu Terengganu has changed the natural habitat of elephants into a modified landscape. This study assesses the land-use and land-cover changes in the forest reserve from 2006 to 2016 to detect the changes that have occurred over that period and identify the habitats used by elephants therein. An unsupervised classification was conducted to identify logged-over forests, degraded forests and water bodies. The classified image from 2006 showed only 117.56 km2 of the logged-over forest, however, in 2013, an area increases of 43.41% of the logged-over forest was detected. In 2006, the degraded forest and water body areas were around 2.14 km2 and 3.22 km2 respectively, but an increase from 2006 to 2013 for degraded forests amounted to 33.94 km2 water bodies decreased to 2.46 km2. Due to the impoundment of the new dams in 2016, a decrease in the size of unlogged forests, logged forests and degraded forests were 2.37%, 24.35% and 41.72% respectively. The development of a hydroelectric dam has contributed to the expansion of the logged and degraded forests. Forest openings in the study area promoted the growth of palatable plants for elephants to consume. Thus, the preferred habitats of elephants were observed to be heavily influenced by the availability of resources in the logged area.

Key words: Hydroelectric development, elephant, inundation, habitat use and land cover change

 

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