Caterpillar loading logs on a truck. Heavy logging activities in Sabah, North Borneo, Malaysia - habitat of the rare Bornean pygmy elephant.
Although there are 11 protected areas in the Sabah region, deforestation in the surrounding forests threatens to isolate populations of endangered species within these areas. These small islands of protected habitat may be too small to ensure the survival of the elephants, rhinos and other wildlife such as orangutans that inhabit the dense rainforests.
Habitat loss and fragmentation
come mainly from large industries that clear tracts of rain forest. The large dipterocarps are sold for timber and other products while the cleared land is often turned into plantations for palm oil and paper pulp. Deforestation results in a large loss of biodiversity and disrupts migration patterns for wildlife in surrounding areas.
The protection of the heart of Borneo would not only benefit wildlife. It would also help alleviate poverty by increasing water and food security and cultural survival for the people of Borneo. In the long term, it will save the island from the ultimate threat of deforestation and increased impacts from droughts and fires.