Friday, June 09, 2017

Can the mountain forests in the Heart of Borneo be saved?

The forests covered by the Heart of Borneo initiative are very important to three countries: Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

The area refers to the mountainous centre of the great island of Borneo. The forests here have indeed fared far better than in the lowlands and coastal areas (where the challenges of deforestation are well known) – that’s the good news so far.

Heart of Borneo covers the deep interior areas of Brunei, the Indonesian province of Kalimantan, and the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.

In 2007, there was a historic declaration by Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei to conserve an area designated as the Heart of Borneo. Since then, considerable work has been carried out under this initiative by the three governments and their local and international supporters, including WWF.

In conjunction with World Environment Day on June 5, WWF-Malaysia and WWF-Indonesia released an executive summary of their upcoming publication titled Environmental Status of Borneo 2016. This provides an overview of the environmental issues in Borneo that can be widely shared to gain collective support to save Borneo’s forests.

Borneo is home to a great diversity of plant and animal species, with rich resources for the livelihood of 11 million people. This includes one million indigenous peoples who inhabit the area called the Heart of Borneo, which lies in mountainous, hard-to-access upriver areas. These people have sustainably managed the natural capital here for centuries.

“This World Environment Day is a good opportunity to draw attention to the state of the environment that we are passing onto generations to come,” said Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma, executive director/CEO of WWF-Malaysia.