Borneo Could Lose 75 Percent of Its Forest by 2020: WW

On World Environment Day (05/06), World Wildlife Fund Indonesia and Malaysia released an executive summary of an upcoming publication titled 'The Environmental Status of Borneo 2016,' predicting that Borneo could lose 75 percent of its forest by 2020 due to the alarming level of deforestation on the island.
Jakarta Globe 5 Jun 17;

Jakarta. On World Environment Day (05/06), World Wildlife Fund Indonesia and Malaysia released an executive summary of an upcoming publication titled "The Environmental Status of Borneo 2016," predicting that Borneo could lose 75 percent of its forest by 2020 due to the alarming level of deforestation on the island.

Borneo is home to a diverse range of plants and animal species, with rich resources that sustain the livelihood of 11 million people — including 1 million indigenous people — from Brunei, the Indonesian province of Kalimantan, and Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.

Only 71 percent of the 74 million hectares of Boreno's forest was left in 2005, and only 55 percent was left in 2015.

Projections indicate that if the deforestation continues at this rate, a further 6 million hectares of forest will be destroyed by 2020, leaving less than a third left by 2020.

Lowland forest areas — which are a critical habitat for the conservation of many unique species — are by far the most in danger in Borneo due to logging, palm oil plantation and production, and other agricultural activities. As a result, lowland forests in Borneo are expected to lose 10-13 million hectares of forest area between 2015-2020.

This also means that certain species, including the critically endangered orangutans, are more at risk of losing their habitat.

"This World Environment Day is a good opportunity to draw attention to the state of the environment that we are passing on to the generations to come," WWF Malaysia executive director and chief executive, Dionysius Sharma said in an official statement.

"We need to act now and act fast to save Borneo's forests. Together, we can help make one of the world's last remaining expanses of forest in Borneo a better place to live in, both for us humans as well as the biodiversity that thrives in this unique tropical rainforest island," he said.

The data, which will be explained further in the full report, which is scheduled for publication by the end of this month, is expected to raise awareness to encourage more people to save Borneo's forests.

"It is important to have a clear and comprehensive overview of the current and previous environmental status of Borneo, including the Heart of Borneo, to see where major changes of the ecological conditions are occurring, "WWF Indonesia acting chief executive Benja V. Mambai said.

"As this report presents as such, we hope that the result of this regular environmental analysis would guide the authorities and our stakeholders to take effective steps to address the declining state of the environment," Benja added.

Heart of Borneo

However, there is positive news for the area known as the Heart of Borneo, which has fared far better than Borneo's lowlands and coastal areas.

The Heart of Borneo is a conservation agreement initiated by the WWF for Nature to protect 22 million hectares of forested region on Borneo and is one of the parts of the island where the forests remain intact.

Considerable work has been carried out under the Heart of Borneo Initiative by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, who signed a declaration in February 2007 to conserve the area's natural heritage.

"The Heart of Borneo Initiative has been ongoing for 10 years now and has gained increased support from all of our major stakeholders," WWF Indonesia acting chief executive Benja V. Mambai said.


WWF releases exclusive summary on Borneo on World Environment Day
Antara 5 Jun 17;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia and Malaysia released an exclusive publication of "The Environmental Status of Borneo 2016" to commemorate this years World Environment Day.

Acting CEO of WWF Indonesia Benja V. Mambai highlighted the importance of having a clear and comprehensive picture of Borneos forests, including the Heart of Borneo, currently and earlier, to analyze where major changes in the ecological conditions occur.

"This will help us to better monitor and plan our future business on this island," he noted in a press release received by ANTARA on Monday.

As being stated in the report, Mambai expressed hope that results of the existing analysis would guide the authorities and stakeholders to adopt effective measures to address the declining environmental conditions in Borneo.

The Heart of Borneo initiative has been running for a decade and has received full support from all key stakeholders.

Although several challenges still remain, the report provides positive progress in some areas of the ecosystem. The Heart of Borneo, which is located in the middle of the island, fared much better than the lowlands and coastal areas.

Along with WWF Malaysia, WWF Indonesia has put in every effort to help make one of Borneos last remaining forest areas in the world a better place for humans and the biodiversity that thrives on this unique tropical rainforest island.

The island of Borneo is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species and is rich in natural resources essential for the survival of 11 million people, including a million indigenous people living in the Heart of Borneo area, who have been managing its natural wealth sustainably for centuries. However, not all is fine.

The exclusive summary of the latter report reveals that Brunei Darussalam, provinces in Kalimantan, and the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo are in danger, as they are slowly losing their key ecosystems that are critical to the long-term survival of local and economic communities, both nationally and regionally.

According to the report, approximately 74 million hectares, or 55 percent of the forest cover, had been lost by 2015. In closed forest areas, fragmentation is widespread, with deforestation on the rise. In a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario by 2020, it is estimated that Borneo could lose 75 percent of its forests.

According to the projection in the report, if the deforestation rate during the 2005-2015 period continues in line with the BAU scenario, another six million hectares of forests are likely to vanish in the next five years from 2015 and 2020.

The full report of the WWF Environmental Status of Borneo 2016 will be released at the end of June 2017.

It is the third edition of a report detailing the critical condition of ecosystems and plant and animal indicators to assess changes in landscape and reduction in forest cover by drawing references from the historical levels in the past three- to five-year intervals, from 2005 to 2015.(*)

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