Safeguarding the natural beauty of Sabah's islands
In order to help Sabah (a Malaysian member state) combat the effects of pollution and overexploitation, we developed a plan to maximise the tourism and economic potential of the islands – sustainably.
In order to help Sabah (a Malaysian member state) combat the effects of pollution and overexploitation, we developed a plan to maximise the tourism and economic potential of the islands – sustainably. In so doing, we helped ensure the preservation of the natural beauty for which Sabah’s islands are so well known.
The islands of Sabah, Malaysia are an attractive destination due to their unique land- and seascapes, rich flora and fauna. However, the ecology of the islands is more sensitive compared to Malaysia’s mainland coastlines. Tourism and agriculture have exerted tremendous developmental pressure on Sabah’s islands, resulting in pollution and over exploitation of its resources.
The Environment Protection Department (EPD) – under Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment – asked us to study Sabah’s islands and prepare an integrated management plan. Over the course of the 2.5-year project, we:
- conducted a baseline assessment of sensitive habitats
- analysed socioeconomic activities
- performed hydraulic and water quality modelling
We then used the results of the matrix to develop the management objectives of each island in broad terms.
In addition, we recommended further detailed spatial planning for the islands and island clusters, as well as the development of a strategy for implementation of our study.
All this will ensure appropriate management of marine habitats throughout the state, as opposed to focusing only on protected marine areas – and will specifically preserve the inherent natural beauty of Sabah’s islands.