Global Network of National Geoparks

Langkawi islands – The first Malaysian candidate for global geoparks

Published :March 24, 2008

K. Ghanl1 , M. Leman2 & I. Komoo2
1Langkawi Development Authority, Langkawi, Malaysia
2Institute for Environment & Development, Universiti Kebagsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM Bangi, Malaysia

Keywords: Malaysia, Geopark, karst, tourism

Langkawi islands are an ideal candidate for a global geopark because it represents the region's most complete geological sequence of the Paleozoic rock formation. The assemblage of 99 islands with outstanding tropical karst landscape and diverse geological features make an appealing landscape which at the same time has high heritage value, providing the basis for the selection of the first national Geopark in Malaysia. Once home to several clusters of Malay fishing communities, today the islands have become a premier international tourism destination. In order to conserve the island's geological uniqueness and other nature heritage without jeopardizing their potential for resource utilization, the state authority has now accepted the proposal to declare Langkawi Islands as geopark. The geopark concept is advocated as a development policy tool that can ensure a balance between three main components, namely, conservation of heritage resources; development of infrastructure based on tourism and local needs; and enhancement of tourism and recreational programmers. This paper describes the main elements that form of the building blocks of a geopark, and illustrating the worthiness of Langkawi Islands being accepted as member of UNESCO Global Networks National Geoparks.