Pa' Kumap Waterfall in Ba' Kelalan, Sarawak, Malaysia, Heart of Borneo, Edwin Meru, FORMADAT / ©: Edwin Meru/FORMADAT

Heart of Borneo

What is the Heart of Borneo?

Borneo, the world's third largest island, accounts for just 1% of the world's land yet holds approximately 6% of global biodiversity in its rich, tropical forests. Its species range from the distinct Bornean orang utans and elephants to the giant pitcher plants and Rafflesia flowers. Yet this diversity is under threat - Borneo has already lost over half its forests, and a third of these disappeared in just the last three decades.

The Heart of Borneo (HoB) refers to the main part of the island where forests remain intact. Covering an area the size of Utah in the US, Victoria in Australia or the whole of England and Scotland put together and extending into the territory of the countries of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia, it is one of the largest transboundary rainforests remaining in the world. But the Heart of Borneo is not just a treasure trove of biodiversity - it is also a source of life and livelihood for people, providing ecological services for at least 11 million Borneans, including a million forest-dwelling indigenous Dayaks.

The Heart of Borneo Initiative

The HoB Initiative is a unique government-led and NGO-supported programme that was initiated by a joint Declaration by the governments of Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia in 2007.

The aim of the programme is to conserve the biodiversity of the Heart of Borneo for the benefit of the people who rely upon it through a network of protected areas, sustainable management of forests and other sustainable land uses.

WWF in the Heart of Borneo

Borneo is one of WWF's priority places for action and it includes five of WWF's global priority species. WWF has been active in Borneo for many years and played an integral part in catalysing the 2007 Declaration.

Now WWF continues to play a key role supporting the three governments implement the Initiative as well as conducting various conservation projects across the landscape ranging from traditional species protection projects to innovative projects to implement working green economies.

WWF's Heart of Borneo work is led by a collaboration between WWF-Indonesia and WWF-Malaysia and driven by support from WWF offices around the world. 
Heart of Borneo / ©: HoB Library
Heart of Borneo
© HoB Library

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In their words

  • Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah

    Sultan of Brunei Darussalam
    "Being part of Borneo and in our effort to retain ecological connectivity and to conserve a large tract of forest resources, Brunei Darussalam has become a strong partner in the Heart of Borneo (HoB) Initiative. It is one of the largest tropical rainforest conservation initiatives in the region and we have committed 58% of our land under HoB Management."

    Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

    President of Indonesia
    "We have become ever more aware, and humbled, by the fact that our tropical rainforests have a strategic, global function...they produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide not just for Indonesians but for the human race."


    Dato' Seri Abdullah Bin Haji Ahmad Badawi

    Malaysia Prime Minister
    "The Heart of Borneo covers a big tract in Borneo and is very important. It is an ASEAN project which is good for research and activities that lead towards forest protection."



    HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh | Patron of WWF

    Sir David Attenborough | Natural history TV presenter

    Sir Peter Crane | Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London

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