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Tree species composition and configuration based on squirrel behaviour pattern in selected Malaysian urban parks

Bahari, Noraini (2019) Tree species composition and configuration based on squirrel behaviour pattern in selected Malaysian urban parks. PhD thesis, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Faculty of Built Environment & Surveying.


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In Malaysian urban parks, observing wildlife activity, particularly squirrels, is not a popular recreational activity among their users. This is due to the lack of attention being placed in the planning and design stage of the park in order to create good quality wildlife habitats which meet their ecological needs, particularly in urban parks. As such, this study aims to discover the tree species composition and configuration which influence the squirrels’ activities and behaviour and consequently encourage squirrel-observing as a recreational activity. The three selected urban parks represent the northern, central and southern regions of Peninsular Malaysia where plantain squirrels can be found in abundance. The parks are the Taiping Lake Gardens, Taiping Perak, the Hutan Bandar, Johor Bahru and the Botanical Garden, Putrajaya. The software ERDAS IMAGINE 2014 was used to classify the land use features in each park. This is an essential tool used for extracting quantitative information from remotely-sensed image data. High resolution images of all three parks were obtained from Google Earth 2016. Each individual tree in which the plantain squirrels were sighted was plotted on GIS database using ArcGIS 10.0. Direct observations and focal animal sampling, with the help of binoculars, digital camera and activity check sheets were used to record the activities during the most active period for the squirrels, namely early in the morning and late evening. A total of four plots, with fifty-meter diameter for each park, were established based on the most squirrels sighted during the preliminary study. The relationship between the squirrels’ behaviour and the tree characteristics was analysed with Chi-Square independent test in SPSS ver. 23. The findings revealed that plantain squirrels were strictly diurnal species with their peak activity during the early morning and late evening. Trees were mostly used for food sources as plantain squirrels mainly consume fruits. In terms of tree composition, native species were more dominant than non-native ones. Clustered tree configurations that exhibited connected canopies dominated all observation plots. Tree species which produced fruits all year round were widely planted in all these parks. Plantains frequently used the upper double vertical space which is in the middle and upper storey (5m-10 and 10-15m), for foraging and feeding where fruits were found in abundance. Hence, travelling activities were also mostly seen in the same storey as this activity was mainly related with looking for food source areas. In conclusion, this research allows park planners and designers to understand that the composition of trees and its configuration should be in accordance to the squirrels’ ecological requirements. Therefore, this study reveals the fundamental factors for designing urban parks which will be able to offer squirrel-observation activities among Malaysian park users.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:Thesis (Ph.D (Doktor Falsafah) - Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 2019; Supervisors : Prof. Dr. Ismail Said, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ismail Mohamad
Subjects:T Technology > TH Building construction
Divisions:Built Environment
ID Code:86149
Deposited By: Fazli Masari
Deposited On:30 Aug 2020 08:57
Last Modified:30 Aug 2020 08:57

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