MARAFA Lawal Mohammed 馬路華

Research Projects


  • Community Perception of Landscapes : Investigating Structures and Functions
  • MARAFA Lawal Mohammed, CHAU Kwai Cheong, FUNG Tung
    7 January 2007
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    Community perceptions of landscapes have metamorphosed from simply viewing them as appearances of land with natural and cultural values to seeing them as tangible units with structure and functions. This view gives character to a place and thus characterizes the way the public and decision-makers react to such places. Where landscapes are open and prone to various impacts of development, there are consequences of land use changes that can affect the perceived structure and function of such landscapes. As most decisions on landscapes will be based to some extent on their structure or function, this study intend to 1) investigate the multi-functional aspects of landscapes; 2) will seek to understand their values and functions in a human-environment interface; and 3) will integrate such data and results for visualization and consequently explore the land use change through participatory system using geographical tools. In order to achieve the objectives enumerated and the integration of results, the study will focus on the landscapes in the selected country parks of the New Territories in Hong Kong. The New Territories is an attractive area that is generating attention to policy makers and general public as it is slated for further development. As this study unfolds, it helps reseachers, planners and decision makers in identifying the need for integration, and the relationships that are centred around human-environment interface. The research will hopefully pave the way for producing an earmarked research grant application. (SS06707)


  • Effects of Health Scare on Outdoor Recreation and Leisure Trends: Lessons from the SARS Outbreak
  • MARAFA Lawal Mohammed, FUNG Tung
    21 March 2004
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    In a densely populated urban environment like Hong Kong, most people maintain a buoyant and healthy lifestyle part of which involves leisure and recreation. At the onset of the SARS pandemic, people became psychologically apprehensive of the normal trends of daily life. Crowds were avoided, shopping malls and plazas were deserted, and people spent most of their free time indoors and had literally nowhere to go. As time went bye, the alternative leisure and recreation activity was engaging in outdoor recreation in the countryside and open spaces.
    In the period of SARS there was fear, alienation, frustration and most people felt insecure. In a situation of psychological trauma, leisure and recreation are believed to have beneficial consequences for improving psychological well-being and health particularly when this is done in the outdoors. For people to continue to enjoy the outdoors and maintain a buoyant and healthy lifestyle, there is the need to understand how the outbreak affected leisure activities in the local context.
    As a sense of normality returned to the city, open spaces in both rural and urban areas became beehives that attracted large number of visitors. As a result, the hitherto quiet countryside of Hong Kong (and particularly the New Territories) suddenly became alternative destinations and this trend deserves further attention. Understanding the trend of participation in leisure and recreation in the aftermath of SARS will help to elucidate the overall community response to the menace of SARS. What is the status of leisure in Hong Kong family life? How did the SARS episode interfere with family recreation patterns? What is the role of leisure and recreation in the psyche of people at a time of an unknown health scare? Some of these questions will be addressed in this study. The study will therefore investigate the changing trends to people’s participation in outdoor recreation and identify what factors (if any) have influenced people’s participation in leisure activities. (SS03376)


  • From Mass Tourism to Ecotourism: Re-Engineering the Hong Kong Country Park System
  • MARAFA Lawal Mohammed, CHAU Kwai Cheong
    1 March 2005
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    Ecotourism is becoming more and more popular especially where there is abundant pristine natural environment. These, natural environment, particularly national and country parks, are at risk of losing their naturalness that attracts ecotourists in the first place. The more people get involved in ecotourism activities, the greater the risk posed to the natural environment. In Hong Kong, the Country parks constitute the main natural environment that is protected and operates with specific objectives of conservation, education and recreation. Meeting these objectives and the fact that ecotourism is becoming popular in these parks poses fundamental conflicts in management objectives.
    This research will study how this conflict can be managed, how issues and or problems could be addressed so that the country parks will provide for and accommodate the growing trend of ecotourism. To this end, the study will investigate and develop a potential index that can be used for the measurement of ecotourism development potential in the country parks. This index will be complemented with the development of indicators for the sustainability of ecotourism activities. The study will further attempt to find out the basic ingredients of ecotourism that can be locally adaptable. Finally, the research will develop a framework that will promote and provide a symbiotic relationship between the country park and ecotourism activities.
    Based on this, the work will seek to integrate ecological, economic and social aspects of ecotourism within the country park system. This will form a platform that will re-engineer the country parks while at the same time saving them from the adverse effects of mass tourism. (SS04645)


  • Investigating and Analyzing Natural and Cultural Landscapes for Sustainable Use as Nature-based Recreation and Ecotourism Destinations in Hong Kong
  • MARAFA Lawal Mohammed
    1 March 2003
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    Landscapes, whether natural or cultural are important components of human habitation. They share common grounds as they reflect an interface on human relationship with the natural environment, which often defines their character of existence. Cultural and natural landscapes also act as backdrops for non-consumptive human uses which recently have included nature-based recreation and ecotourism. As these landscapes are open to the public for non-consumptive purposes, continuous visitation and use by humans will expose them to the aggravation of degradation and deterioration of their uniqueness, value and relevant ecological processes. The study and analysis of these landscapes, their classification and investigation of landscape ecology can contribute in part, to their sustainability. It can also maintain and enhance natural values on the landscape for attraction to nature-based recreation and ecotourism participants. The study, classification and categorization of landscapes particularly in an urban fringe poses substantial philosophical and methodological problems and challenges. While there is need for protection of the natural and cultural landscapes, and their conservation, they are also required to cater for the rising trend and demand for ecotourism, nature-based recreation, education and the provision of general amenity for the increasing number of urban dwellers. The study will adopt a hierarchical methodology of landscape classification, categorize and evaluate landscapes based on their abiotic, biotic and cultural attributes and develop an adoptable framework for developing ideal landscape condition for nature-based recreation and ecotourism. (SS02417)


  • Provision of Service for Mapping of Distribution and Extent of Mangroves in Hong Kong Using Satellite Image Analysis
  • FUNG Tung YANG Limin (Institute of Space and Earth Information Science), MARAFA Lawal Mohammed
    13 March 2006
    Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Dept, HKSAR Government

    The objective of the study is to develop a strategy for the mapping of mangal in Hong Kong using satellite image analysis. This strategy will make use of advanced remote sensing digital image analysis techniques to map out the spatial distribution of mangroves. SPOT 5 multispectral data will be used for mangrove mapping at vegetation level along the coastline of Hong Kong. A more detailed mapping at species levels will be experimented with high resolution Quickbird data in the Deep Bay area. The study will also make recommendations on future application of new remote sensing technologies for mapping and updating of the distribution of mangroves in Hong Kong. (SS05737)


  • Understanding the Tunes of Nature - A Study of the Soundscape of Hong Kong Countryside
  • LAM Kin Che, MARAFA Lawal Mohammed, CHAU Kwai Cheong
    1 January 2006
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    Natural sounds are integral components of the countryside bestowing special meanings to the place and the people. Preservation and restoration of diminishing natural soundscapes has become the foremost challenge in the protection of our natural heritage. This is the first systematic study of the soundscape of Hong Kong.s countryside with the aim to increase our understanding of natural sounds as a resource. It attempts to answer the following questions: (1) How does soundscape contribute to the value of a landscape? (2) What do visitors prefer? (3) Are natural soundscapes in Hong Kong being undermined and threatened? Where and how? (4) How can the natural soundscapes be planned and managed?
    This research will select a number of countryside sonic types in the countryside of Hong Kong and characterize them through field acoustic measurements and .sound walks. by trained personnel, supplemented by in-depth interview with park visitors and controlled experiments in a virtual reality laboratory. The primary objective is to identify the key sound components that constitute a .good. soundscape, ascertain their acoustic profiles and unravel the special meanings attached to these sounds by visitors. Man-made sounds intruding into the countryside will be identified, categorized and assessed. Acoustic design and management guidelines that can enhance human satisfaction with the natural environment will be explored and formulated. (CU05629)


  • The Use of Native Vegetation Community as Potential Tourist Resources and Cultural Heritage in the Fringes of Hong Kong Cityscape
  • MARAFA Lawal Mohammed, CHAU Kwai Cheong, FUNG Tung
    1 November 2000
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    There is a great potential to promote and develop the eco-tourism potential of Hong Kong. About 70% of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is underdeveloped countryside land (Jim and Wong 1996). 41% of the total area of the region is already designated as country parks or areas dedicated to Sites of Special Scientific Interest. In an effort to further enhance the concepts of education, conservation and recreation, the Agriculture Fisheries and Conservation Department has identified 14 sites with potential to be designated as country parks (Planning, Environment and Lands Branch, 1993b). These will further enhance conservation of the countryside ecosystem and boost the resources for outdoor recreation and local tourism.
    Within the existing underdeveloped countrysides of Hong Kong, there exist crescents of native woodlands (Feng Shui) located at the periphery of many native villages particularly in the NT. Most of these areas, either within or outside the country parks, are areas of outstanding natural beauty, or sites of cultural, historical and scientific interset (Planning, Environment and Lands Branch, 1993a). These native villages and the feng shui vegetation that surrounds them date back to 100-200 years old. These natural resources and relics of cultural heritage are therefore valuable to the community as they provide good resources for environmental and ethical education while simultaneously promoting the virtues of conservation.
    This study will attempt to identify, classify and categorize the settlements crescented by the feng shui woods and the resources that will provide visual and aesthetic interest commonly found in these valuable cultural heritage that has a long history of environmental conservation ethics.
    Their understanding and effective categorization, will help to intensify interest in them and promote outdoor recreation and eco-tourism as a result of which will further elucidate the potentials of a more comprehensive and multidisciplinary research. (SS00883)


  • Can We Make Slopes Greener? A Critical Evaluation of Slope Bioengineering Measures In Hong Kong
  • NG Sai Leung, CHAU Kwai Cheong, MARAFA Lawal Mohammed
    1 January 2006
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    The hilly topography makes slopes an integral component of the urban cityscape in Hong Kong. In the old days, safety was the key factor under consideration but environmental aesthetics and ecological values were usually neglected. In recent years, slope safety and environmental concerns have received equal emphasis from the government. While shotcrete is still the main structure of the slope, it is overlaid with a thin layer of soil or raw straws to support the growth of vegetation. To date, about 400 slopes have been constructed or renovated involving the use of this slope design. However, there has been no research undertaken to evaluate their performance, apart from a few descriptive studies on vegetation cover and survival rate. This project aims at critically investigating the performance and sustainability of green slopes from a multi-disciplinary perspective. The objectives are threefold: (1) to review the performance of the existing slope greening techniques in terms of vegetation growth and public perception; (2) to identify the key ecological and environmental factors governing the success of slope bioengineering; and (3) to propose and evaluate the use of digested sludge as a soil-amendment material in slope greening works. The results and findings of the proposed study should greatly contribute to a better living environment in Hong Kong. (CU05634)



Research Publications


  • "Changes in Participation in Leisure and Outdoor Recreation Activities Among Hong Kong People during the SARS Outbreak" (co-authored with FUNG Tung). World Leisure vol.2, World Leisure and Recreation Association, 2004. pp.38-47.



  • "Characteristics of and Human Preference for the Countryside Soundscapes of Hong Kong" (co-authored with LAM Kin Che; KEUNG M. Y. and CHAU Kwai Cheong). Paper presented in the INTER-NOISE 2006 Conference. Hawai, Honolulu, 2006.12.03.



  • "Characterizing Natural Soundscapes and Understanding Human Response to Human-caused Noise in a Hong Kong Country Park" (co-authored with LAM Kin Che, CHAU Kwai Cheong and CHAN Pak Kin). Paper presented in the 153rd Meeting Acoustical Society of America. Salt Lake City, Utah, 2007.12.27.



  • "Developing and Implementing Special Interest Tourism (SIT) in Hong Kong Rural Landscapes". Paper presented in the Conference on Changing Geography in Diversified World. 2006.06.01.



  • "Ecotourism and Nature-based Recreation in the Protected Areas of Hong Kong: the Case of Hoi Ha Wan" (co-authored with CHAU Kwai Cheong). The IUCN/WCPA EA 5th Conference on Protected Areas of East Asia. Hong Kong SAR, 2005.06.



  • "Ecotourism Prospects in the Urban Environment: The Case of Hong Kong" (co-authored with CHAU Kwai Cheong). Paper presented in the IGU Conference Queensland University of Technology. 2006.07.03.



  • "Identifying Wilderness in the Landscapes of Hong Kong Urban Periphery". International Journal of Wderness vol.9 no.3, United States of America: University of Idaho, 2003.12. pp.39-42, 33.



  • "Landscape Ecology of Feng Shui Woodlands in Hong Kong Using IKONOS Images and GIS" (co-authored with FUNG Tung and HO Ka Yip). Paper presented in the The 30th Congress of the International Geographical Union, organized by International Geographical Union. Glasgow, United Kingdom, 2004.08.



  • "Nitrogen Mineralization in Soils Along a Vegetation Chronosequence in Hong Kong" (co-authored with CHAU Kwai Cheong). Pedosphere vol.15 no.2, Beijing, China: Science Press, 2005. pp.181-188.
    (CUHK Library Call No: Available Online)



  • "Perceived Benefits of Hiking as an Outdoor Recreation Activity in Hong Kong" (co-authored with HO Y. T. and CHAU Kwai Cheong). Leisure vol.10 no.2, Belo Horizonte, 2007.08.
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL Periodical AP95.C4 C5454 2007, no.1-6)



  • "Recruitment of Native Species by Lophostemon Conferus Plantations in Hong Kong" (co-authored with CHAU Kwai Cheong and KONG Hoi Yeung). Paper presented in the IGU Conference. 2006.07.07.



  • "Socio-ecological Impact and Risk Assessments in the Urban Environment: a Multidisciplinary Concept from Hong Kong". The Environmentalist vol.22. Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002. pp.377-385.
    (CUHK Library Call No: CC Periodical TD169 .E5 v.22, 2002)



  • Soil studies along a vegetation chronosequence affected by fire in Hong Kong, South China.1998.
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL Thesis S599.6.H6 M37 1998)



  • "Sustainable Tourism: A Case of Community-Based Initiatives on Peng Chau Island in Hong Kong" (co-authored with LAM H.). Paper presented in the 1st GREEN GLOBE 21 Conference, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2004.03.



  • "Understanding the Temporal Variation of Countryside Soundscape of Hong Kong" (co-authored with LI P. L., LAM Kin Che, SO W. W. and LEE K. C.). Paper presented in the 36th International Congress and Exposition on Noise Control Engineering, Internoise 2007. Turkey, Istanbul, 2007.08.



  • "Urban Ecotourism: Embracing or Overstretching the Concept - The Case of Hong Kong" (co-authored with LEUNG Yu Fai and CHAU Kwai Cheong). Paper presented in the IUCN/WCPA EA 5th Conference on Protected Areas of East Asia. Hong Kong SAR, 2005.06.


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