Riparian Buffers in Tropical Agriculture

Riparian buffers in tropical agriculture: Scientific support, effectiveness and directions for policy

Journal Of Applied Hydrology, 2019. 56: 85-92

Sarah H. Luke1,2 |Eleanor M. Slade3,4 |Claudia L. Gray5|Kogila V.
Annammala6 |Julia Drewer7 |Joseph Williamson8 |Agnes L. Agama9|MiklinAtiong10|Simon L. Mitchell1 |Charles S. Vairappan11|Matthew J. Struebig1

1Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK; 2Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK; 3Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; 4Lancaster Environment Centre, University of Lancaster, Lancaster, UK; 5Department of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK; 6Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Water Security (IPASA), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru, Malaysia;
7Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), Edinburgh, UK; 8School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK; 9South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP), Lahad Datu, Malaysia; 10Department of Irrigation and Drainage, Water Resources Management Section, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and 11Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia



  1. There is a weak evidence base supporting the effective management of riparian ecosystems within tropical agriculture. Policies to protect riparian buffers—strips of non-cultivated land alongside waterways—are vague andvary greatly between countries.
  2. From a rapid evidence appraisal, we find that riparian buffers are beneficial to hydrology, water quality, biodiversity and some ecosystem functions in tropical landscapes. However, effects on connectivity, carbon storage and emissions re-duction remain understudied. Riparian functions are mediated by buffer width and habitat quality, but explicit threshold recommendations are rare.

3. Policy implications. A one-size fits all width criterion, commonly applied, will be insufficient to provide all riparian functions in all circumstances. Context-specific guidelines for allocating, restoring and managing riparian buffers are necessary to minimise continued degradation of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in tropical agriculture.


biodiversity, conservation set-aside, ecosystem function, environmental policy, riparian corridor, riparian reserve, river, water quality

Read more on our paper :

or download directly here:


Impact of forest conversion to agricultural plantation on soil erosion ( Full Paper free download)

Agriculture in Malaysia makes up to twelve percent of thenation’s GDP and is supplying one-third of the world rubber export. Ambitious agriculture demand increases the intensity of forest conversion which is driven to the soil erosion. Thus, this study is to measure and analyse the impact of forest conversion on soil erosion relate to some manipulated variables such as slope, bulk density, soil moisture, canopy openness and ground cover, where rainfall and soil type are constant within the sites. Two different land-uses of High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) and Mature Rubber Plantation of Timber Latex Clone (MRP) were selected around Kelantan state, due to the high land conversion compared to the other states of West Malaysia. Ground height change was monitored by using Modified Laser Erosion Bridge (MLEB) in between 17 to 48 transects. The result found that the annual soil erosion rate was 76.12 t.ha-1.yr-1 for HCVF is higher compared to the MRP was 6.37 t.ha-1.yr-1. Terrace soil conservation technique is practiced for MRP helps in reducing soil movement resulted significant low erosion rate compared to the HCVF. The results indicate that even a relatively limited forest conversion can be assumed to have a significant effect on regional soil erosion rate.

Full Paper could be downloaded here:

if you have trouble downloading from the link above.. try the one below:


3rd Proceeding of Civil Engineering ( free download)

The third proceeding of civil engineering research work by our final year students from the School of Civil Engineering, University Teknologi Malaysia Session 2017/2018. These students had undergone two semesters of final year project where literature reviews were carried out and proposals were prepared during the first semester while the research projects were executed and final year project reports were written up during the second semester. Each of the completed research project was presented by the student before a panel consisted of academic staffs that are well versed in the particular research area, together with a representative from the industry. The final year project presentation that was held on the 3rd and 4th of June 2018 allowed the dissemination of knowledge and results in theory, methodology and application on the different fields of civil engineering among the audience and served as a platform where any vague knowledge was clarified and any misunderstood theories, procedures and interpretation of the research works were corrected.

The articles of the proceeding are published in three volumes and are organized in broad categories as follows:

Volume 1- Structure and Materials
Volume 2– Construction Management, Geotechnics and Transportation

Volume 3– Water and Environmental Engineering

List of Editors

1. Dr. Libriati Zardasti
2. Dr. Nur Syamimi Zaidi
3. Dr. Ain Naadia Mazlan
4. Dr. Mohamed Zuhaili Bin Mohamed Najib

5. Dr. Kogila Vani Annammala
6. Dr. Eeydzah Aminudin
7. Dr. Dayang Zulaika Abang Hasbollah
8. Dr. Mohd Ridza Mohd Haniffah
9. Dr. Nur Hafizah Abd Khalid
10. PM. Dr. Norhisham Bin Bakhary




Call for Papers 2018

1st Announcement


  • Theme: Floods in Urbanized Area
  • Venue: Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
  • Date: 15-18th NOV 2018    

Call for Papers (CFCCE’18)

Flooding is one of the natural disasters that causes severe losses and damage across the world. Recent studies indicated that the occurrence frequency of flooding might increase under future climate conditions. In addition, strong human activities, e.g. rapid urbanization and construction of hydraulic engineering, significantly modified drainage networks and further promoted floods risk. This is particularly true in many large rivers and lakes in the world, including Yangtze River and the connected lakes. Damages arisen from flooding attract serious attention of the government and local communities.

This conference is the 2nd one following the first one held in 2016 in Malaysia. It will provide a forum for researchers and managers to share the latest research outcomes on floods in typical areas. It is anticipated an improved understanding of the driving mechanism of flood events be achieved, and approaches of possible mitigation be suggested. Practice on flooding management from different regions will be shared in this conference.

Selected papers will be published in a special issue of international journal “Hydrology Research” (Scopus Indexed IF: 1.81)

Organized by:

Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (NIGLAS)

Co-organized by:

  • Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, (UTM), Skudai-Johor. Malaysia.
  • Asian Network on Climate Science and Technology International Steering Committee (ANCST)
  • Sate Key Laboratory of Watershed Geographic Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences (WSGS)
  • Poyang Lake Aquatic and Wetland Ecosystem Observation and Research Station, CAS


Standard: US$300 (RMB¥2000)

Students: US$150 (RMB¥1000)

  • Important Deadlines
  • Submission of Abstract: 15th October 2018
  • Acceptance Notification : 31th October 2018

Abstract Submission:  or


  1. Climate change and floods
  2. Human activities and floods
  3. Prediction of flood events
  4. Flood mitigation
  5. Watershed floods management
  6. Paleoflood Hydrology
  7. Transboundary effect, issues on flood

General Inquiry:  Miss Lei TAN.         E-mail:

Organizing Committee:

Prof. Ji Shen (Director, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, CAS)

Prof. Xuejun Duan (Vice-director, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, CAS)

Prof. Guishan Yang (President, Nanjing Branch of Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Prof. Qi Zhang (Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, CAS)

Prof. Zulkifli Yusop (Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Water Security (IPASA), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM))

Prof. Joy Jacqueline Pereira (Southeast Asia Disaster Prevention Research Initiative, Unversiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (SEADPRI-UKM))

Prof. Yuanbo Liu (Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, CAS)

Emeritus Prof. Lord Julian Hunt (Cambridge & UCL)

Prof. Johnny Chan (City University Hong Kong)

Prof. Youpeng Xu (Nanjing University, China)

Prof. Zhijia Li (Hohai University, China)

Prof. Dato’ Azizan Hj Abu Samah (Universiti of Malaya (UM))

Prof. Talib Latif (UKM)

Dr. Kogila Vani Annammala (IPASA-UTM)

Dr. Nor Eliza Alias (IPASA-UTM)

Friends of Melana River (FoMR) program

At the very early stage of establishing a team and planning in adopting River Melana, Skudai. Project initiated and lead by IWK and iPASA. Preliminary site survey of familiarisation of the site, Engagement with the local community any the way to move forward with FoMR..

Volunteers are most welcomed!For ideas and literally physical help during clean up and field activities..


Flashback 2016: Earthwatch Borneo Expedition

Earthwatch.UK is an institute/ organisation that was, is and will always be close to my heart. One of the last programs in Borneo was in the year 2016, the last of being the Field Team leader and the last team of the season. It is indeed very sad as it sounds, however I do hope that such programs will continue in near future.

While browsing on line, I stumbled upon an article written by Bertie Thomas and George Strainge, the young, talented, ambitious, adventures, joyful and energetic volunteers for that season. The group made a good ‘team’. Herewith sharing their write up from her experience:

“Over the summer holidays, I went on a two week expedition to Sabah, Borneo, where I conducted research about the effect of climate change on the rainforest. The trip was organized by an institute in Oxford called Earthwatch and I was part of a team of 8 other like-minded sixth formers. Whilst in Borneo, we would be assisting scientists like Dr. Kogila Vani Annammala and Professor Rory Walsh (Professor of Geography at the University of Swansea) with their own research which focuses on erosion rates and sediment fingerprinting.

Whilst out in the field I learnt some very valuable fieldwork skills that I look forward to practising in the future but from the trip I also gained the satisfaction that I knew we were collecting vital data that will help us have a better understanding of the rainforest.

A typical day would involve us trekking into the rainforest and finding a site where we would conduct our research. To help us find these sites, we had research assistants who would trek into the rainforest with us, carrying equipment and using their expertise of the jungle to help us in the field. If we were doing Professor Walsh’s research then we would be measuring tree

diameters along a transect to find the density and size of trees in a certain area, and if we were doing Dr. Annammala’s research then we would be digging soil samples, or using erosion bridges and a laser to assess how much soil erosion had happened in a specific area. The data we collected would then be compiled and it would contribute to either of the individual’s own research.

Our camp here was very basic but it was amazing because it gave a real experience of being in the jungle. There were no walls or doors and it just had a tin roof to protect us from the relentless rain. All we had to protect us from bugs and other animals was a mosquito net which we hung over our mattresses. Due to the lack of walls, we were often sharing the cabin with other inhabitants. We had 3 bats living under the shelf where we were sleeping and when it got dark they would come out and fly around the dorm. Another time, my friend woke to find a snake circled up between a beam and the roof just above him.

We were made to feel very at home at the camp and in the evening we would do activities like play badminton or football against the Malaysian research assistants. In the evening, we would also have lectures from some of the scientists who were also staying at the camp; this was really interesting because it really clarified what we were doing during the day collecting the results and why it was important.

By: George Strainge

I would again like to thank both the OA Club and ASPA for their kind grant towards my trip to the Borneo Rainforest. It was the best trip that I have ever been on and was very interesting in relation to climate change issues and changing land use patterns. It was great to see that the research being done there is having a real impact on rainforest conservation laws and regulations.

After arriving in Kota Kinabalu and experiencing the feeling of a rapidly urbanizing city with its various sights, sounds and smells it wasn’t long before we made our way to the Danum Field Centre. Here remains some of the most important primary rainforest in South-East Asia. At this site we got to grips with the use of soil research equipment including a soil erosion bridge, clinometer, soil core and densiometer under the supervision of recently appointed senior lecturer at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Kogila Vani Annammala. On top of this Professor Rory Walsh of Swansea University gave us a detailed introduction to the research that we would be taking part in as well as taking my group for our first experience of a trek in the rainforest.

The feeling of being in the rainforest itself was almost surreal to me with the mass of noise and activity. This feeling was further enriched with the sighting of an orangutan which is a highlight of the trip that I can still vividly picture especially the great ape’s shining copper brown fur.

On the morning of leaving the camp to head to our main site of stay in Malua we woke early to see a beautiful sun rise. At Malua the bulk of our fieldwork began with a well drilled routine getting us into the jungle to collect soil site samples and to measure tree density along a transect. Post more lectures from Dr Glenn Reynolds, Mikey O’Brien and Vani we further understood the importance of the research being done in relation to changing land use patterns and climate.

Activities such as playing football against the local Malua research assistants were great fun even though the result didn’t go our way! Overall this was an unforgettable trip which I feel that I have developed from and built many new relationships with people I never knew prior to the trip.

Some pictures from their sharing:

( disclaimer: these images belongs to


The link of the article in pdf:
ASPA : OA Travel Award – Borneo 2016 | Abingdon | Leading Oxfordshire independent school

Its was an awesome and fun experience to be with you all.Thank you Datuk Dr Glen Reynolds (  and the team!