Tamans without Biodiversity: Good Old Oxidation Ponds to the Rescue

Majid, Mohammad Rafee and Johar, Foziah (2012) Tamans without Biodiversity: Good Old Oxidation Ponds to the Rescue. In: Conference On Urban Planning & Management in Malaysia, 8-Nov-12, Renaissance Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. (Submitted)

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Our so called Taman Perumahan are not really a taman or garden that is populated by a variety of flora and fauna in addition to the human beings that they are designed to accommodate. Most of these tamans are designed, intentionally or not, to exclude rather than to include biodiversity. As a result, the children of these tamans grow up missing the wonderful natural world that their parents or grandparents enjoyed growing up in their kampongs or villages. It would not be a surprise if most of these children are not as nature-wise compared to their rural brethrens. Fortunately, some of these tamans are getting some help from the lowly oxidation ponds (OP) in terms of enhancing their biodiversity credibility. Bird habitats provided by OP sites in some tamans manage to rejuvenate the otherwise sterile sections of some neighbourhoods. This paper discusses the findings of two separate studies concerning biodiversity in housing estates in Malaysia. The first part of the paper compares nature awareness among first-year university students who come from two different settings: from rural areas or kampongs and from modern taman perumahan or housing estates. The almost four hundred respondents surveyed showed a distinct difference in terms of nature awareness as measured by their ability to identify selected species of animals. Respondents who grew up in planned housing estates (our taman perumahan) did not fare as well as those from rural areas. Lack of informal exposure to nature due to lack of biodiversity within their surroundings is the most probable cause. In housing estates that utilise OP to treat wastewater, though, there is some hope of enhancing biodiversity. Thus, the second part of the paper reveals how over fifteen species of water birds were recorded at these OPs in Johor Bahru comprising a mixture of resident species and migratory ones that utilise OPs as their refueling stations. This accounts for 61% of total water birds listed by Malaysian Dept of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN). Species counts & variety vary according to OP attributes such as surrounding land uses, edge vegetation, type of fencing, distance from shoreline, etc. A quick questionnaire survey was also carried out on residents living close to OPs to gauge their awareness and appreciation of avifauna. The results of the survey seem to indicate that OPs play a very positive role in terms of biodiversity enhancement in our so called tamans where normally no natural habitats are present.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nature awareness, Neighbourhood, Wastewater Treatment, Oxidation Ponds, Biodiversity, Avifauna
Subjects: T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Built Environment > Urban Design
Depositing User: FAB IR Admin
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2013 06:03
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2013 06:03
URI: http://epublication.fab.utm.my/id/eprint/352

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