Land Use Planning

Planning to avoid conflict in land-use

Did you know that what happens hundreds and even thousands of kilometres away from us can affect the quality of our tap water? Effluents from agricultural run-off, plantations or factories, logging upstream, rubbish and untreated sewage from people living downstream all  pollute our rivers and affect our water quality, fish and other aquatic life.

This is where land-use planning comes in. It is the process of organising, managing, and regulating the use of lands and their resources to meet the socio-economic development of the country whilst safeguarding the environment. Land-use planning is used to meet people’s needs in the most efficient and sustainable way while taking into account the land’s natural capacities.

Land-use planning is essential in physical environmental management and biodiversity conservation. Impacts due to poor land use are regularly highlighted in the media: river pollution, conflicts of land use such as the citing of housing projects adjacent to landfills - the list goes on. As more competing uses for land and its resources arise, conflict often follows.

Land-use planning and management mechanisms that design and incorporates the needs of various sectors are therefore vital to help reduce land-use conflicts, conserve critical ecosystems, protect and manage environmentally sensitive habitats, restore degraded conservation areas, and ultimately, ensure a healthy and safe life for Malaysians.

WWF-Malaysia uses land-use planning to support other areas of work, particularly in lobbying for the creation and management of protected areas, highland conservation and management, species protection, forest conservation and management, and freshwater and marine ecosystem conservation.

We aim to promote sustainable land-use policies, planning and management in the overall land governance system of Peninsular Malaysia, and protection and management of environmentally sensitive areas across the peninsula.

WWF-Malaysia hopes to achieve these goals by employing a number of strategies, which include:
  • Promoting sustainable land-use planning and advocating for the prevention of land development conflicts using the National Physical Plan as a strategic tool
  • Reviewing land-use planning documents such as the Structure and Local Plans and providing recommendations for sustainable land-use development
  • Advocating the use of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as a tool to ensure that proper measures to protect the environment are in place for new development projects. EIA is important in predicting and evaluating the impacts of a proposed project on the environment. It can essentially identify conflicting land uses and recommend ways to reduce environmental impacts as well as predict any possible residual impacts that cannot be alleviated.
  • Reviewing Detailed Environmental Impact Assessments (DEIAs) as a Review Panel member or as a stakeholder. In providing constructive comments and inputs through such a process, it is hoped that development projects are carried out in a sustainable manner to minimise conflict and damage to the environment.
Mangrove swamp cleared for golf course construction,Pulau Redang,Terengganu / ©: WWF-Malaysia/Azwad MN
Mangrove swamp cleared for golf course construction,Pulau Redang,Terengganu
© WWF-Malaysia/Azwad MN

Key Contacts

Saradambal Srinivasan
Programme Officer (Policy & Advocacy)
(Peninsular Malaysia Programme)
T: +603 7803 3772 ext 6416

Lanashree Thandauthapany
Policy Analyst
(Borneo Programme)
T: +6088 262 420 ext 26