Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia is striving to preserve the legacy of Tasik Chini

by | Aug 6, 2021 | EDUCATION | 0 comments

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Dato’ Ts. Dr. Mohd Ekhwan Toriman is committed to restoring Tasik Chini in his research

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Vice Chancellor Prof. Dato’ Ts. Dr. Mohd Ekhwan Hj. Toriman is committed to restore Tasik Chini – the second largest fresh water lake in Malaysia – to its former glory.

Nestled among green mountains, Tasik Chini is a lake in the Pekan district of Pahang, about 100 km from Kuantan town, Malaysia. The 12,565-acre (5,085-hectare) Tasik Chini is the second largest fresh water lake in Peninsular Malaysia and is made up of a series of 12 lakes. The lake is one of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Its rich bio-diversity is not only for eco-tourism, but it also serves as a river basin and the source of the livelihood of the indigenous people living in the lake ecosystem.

However, the treasured legacy faces the risk of losing its Biosphere Reserve status if land clearing and mining are allowed to continue extensively. Such activities have resulted in the lake having been flooded with soil runoff after every heavy rain or massive floods.

The once-clear waters are now cloudy.

In an effort to address the issue, Prof. Dato’ Ts. Dr. Mohd Ekhwan explored the relationship between rainfall distribution and water levels during major floods in the Pahang River Basin.

His research revealed that heavy rainfall with a high intensity from highland areas resulted in a massive flood in Pahang. While rainfall is the primary natural factor impacting the Pahang River during the rainy season, other factors such as agricultural activities, deforestation and urbanisation also contribute to floodwaters.

The study is part of a larger effort to preserve Tasik Chini. The lake’s dire condition with the iconic lotus flowers wiping floods and the water becoming murkier due to sediment, calls for a more holistic approach.

Realising the critical need to safeguard the legacy, UKM has appointed Tasik Chini Research Centre (PPTC) to look into ecotourism, ecohydrology, and the needs of the local Orang Asli community (aborigines).

PPTC was established in 2004 under the Faculty of Science and Technology, UKM. Prof. Dr. Mushrifah Idris served as the lead researcher at the time and successfully conducted activities such as research, teaching and learning, field work, raising awareness among the local community, and disseminating information in regard to the lake management to the people.

“The idea of establishing a research centre is reflected in its mission and vision,” said Prof. Dato’ Ts. Dr. Mohd Ekhwan.

“The vision is to make PPTC as a Biosphere Reserve UNESCO research centre in the Man and Biosphere UNESCO program. Meanwhile its mission is to ensure that PPTC is recognised as a world-class centre for Biosphere Reserve research.

According to him, the center’s establishment has four objectives.

“First and foremost, we want to promote research on the UKM Biosphere Reserve, which is critical for the conservation of natural, cultural, and biological diversity through good governance, effective management, and sustainable development.

“Furthermore, we hope to foster and increase networking among academics, private organisations, and stakeholders to expand research related to the Biosphere Reserve.

“We also want to integrate many aspects of the research in the freshwater biomes, socioeconomics, and eco-tourism in order to improve cultural development and the overall quality of life.

“Finally, we want to create more opportunities for experts in this field on a local and global scale,” he continued.

-PR Newswire