Lafarge Malaysia, a leader of the Malaysian construction industry, recently embarked on a joint-study with scientists to document the diversity of land snails in limestone hills of Peninsular Malaysia.

Known as "arks of biodiversity", limestone hills can harbour animal and plant species that are found nowhere else on earth. A recent study showed that at least 445 limestone hills are found within Peninsular Malaysia.

Quarrying activities, however, are a danger to the survival of species that are unique and endemic to the hills.

To better understand the distribution of land snails in limestone hills in Perak, Lafarge Malaysia provided a research grant to scientists from Rimba and Universiti Malaysia Sabah to conduct a survey on these gastropoda at 12 different limestone hills in the state.

The research recorded a total of 122 species, 34 of which are endemic to one particular hill, and around 30 of which are potentially new to science.

"The findings will not only help Lafarge Malaysia in their limestone conservation efforts, but will also help the state government to identify biologically important hills that should be set aside for protection," said co-author of the study, Dr Gopalasamy Reuben Clements, who is also the founder of Rimba and an Associate Professor of Sunway University.

Lafarge Malaysia’s Kanthan Plant Manager, Jean-Yves Clement said, “Lafarge Malaysia has a strong commitment to maintaining biodiversity across all its sites throughout the country.

Under this collaboration, we’re able to develop a deeper understanding of endemic limestone biodiversity, and enhance our capacity to carry out our corporate social responsibilities.”

Ed