Malaysia is a megadiverse country and listed as one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. Land use changes and deforestation have led to the threat of, and extinction of plant species. In order to mitigate loss in population numbers, and to prevent species extinction events, Important Plant Areas (IPA) for Malaysia shall be identified. The identification of IPA is important to ensure that key natural areas are adequately protected and managed to preserve the species and its habitats. Currently, there are 1771 IPA identified globally and only seven tropical countries are actively involved excluding Malaysia. Inventory and biodiversity research are actively conducted in Malaysia, however, the initiative to identify IPA is still in its infancy. The first attempt for IPA identification was in the state of Terengganu by using herbarium database through scoring technique. In this paper, we discussed methods and criteria used in IPA identification globally. We also deliberated current IPA development in Terengganu and challenges such as collections biases and the need for a robust scoring technique to reduce judgement uncertainty. We suggested GIS based multi-criteria decision making, analytical hierarchy process and species distribution for Malaysian IPA. These strategies were considered to be effective tools in providing decision support for spatial planning aimed at plant conservation in Malaysia.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.