Land cover and available space has been a country-wide issue since its meager beginnings after the revolutionary war. Back then to solve spatial problems with population we just expanded and developed previously undeveloped land. However we now know the error of our ways and understand the dangers of too much land cover and deforestation. This poses a problem for developing nations that are seeing large populaiton increases in areas of large biodiversity such as Malaysia. Too much land cover for an island nation, like Malaysia, would increase impervious ground surfaces, decrease infiltration rates, and increase runoff rates; which would cause low base flow during the dry seasons leaving Malaysia with not enough water to provide for its citizens. Malaysia cannot indefinitely develop its rainforests without endangering itself.
Mustafa, Amin, Lee, and Shariff researched the hydrology behind land development and land cover. They know that "understanding how the land use changes influence the river basin hydrology, will enable planners to formulate policies to minimize the undesirable effects of future land use changes." They found that in the Upper Bernam River Basin of Malaysia the change in total peak flow was 28% from 1989-1993 and 11% from 1993-1995. This can be quite a problem for a nation with a growing population.
Mustafa.Y.M., M.S.M Amin, T.S.Lee, & Shariff A.R.M. (2012). Evaluation of Land Development Impact on a tropical Watershed Hydrology Using Remote Sensing and GIS. Journal of Spatial Hydrology, 5(2), 16-30.