Our Precious Coasts

Figure 9. With a population over 1.4 million (and approximately twice that number in the greater metropolitan area), Kuala Lumpur is the largest city in Malaysia and is growing rapidly. Its sprawl is now encroaching on the mangrove forests at the coastline (approximately 35 kilometers to the west of the city centre). These Landsat satellite images from 1974 and 2005 show the gradual spread of de- velopment and the loss of mangrove forest that has resulted. By 1975, many areas of mangrove had already been converted to agriculture. As thirty years pass, the agricul- tural areas expanded and more mangroves were converted to farms. At the same time, these images show the agricultural areas being converted to industrial and urban land use. Elsewhere along the Malaysian coastline, mangroves are rapidly being converted to commercial shrimp farms. Forestry Department statistics show that peninsular Ma- laysia had 85,800 hectares (214,500 acres) of mangrove swamp forests in 2003, down from 86,497 hectares just one year earlier.


Made with