WWF’s 2012 Living Planet Report: biodiversity hotspots are precious resources to conserve for the future of our planet - including Heart of Borneo | WWF

WWF’s 2012 Living Planet Report: biodiversity hotspots are precious resources to conserve for the future of our planet - including Heart of Borneo

Posted on 15 May 2012
WWF Living Planet Report 2012
Jakarta, Indonesia: The release of the 2012 edition of WWF’s Living Planet Report (LPR), the leading biennial survey of the Earth’s health, reveals that biodiversity hotspots such as the Heart of Borneo need to be the centerpiece of efforts in Asia to provide a sustainable future for the planet.

The 220,000 km2 area known as the Heart of Borneo (HoB) is one of world’s richest natural treasure troves, with, on average, three new species discovered every month and home to an astounding 6% of the world’s total biodiversity, from the orangutan and pygmy elephant, to the Rafflesia - the world’s largest flower.

The LPR survey, produced in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network, shows how an ever-increasing demand for resources by a growing population is putting tremendous pressure on our biodiversity and natural resources - threatening the security and wellbeing of our planet.

“We are living as if we have an extra planet at our disposal. We are using 50 per cent more resources than the Earth can sustainably produce and unless we change course, that number will grow fast – by 2030, even two planets will not be enough,” said Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International.

Deforestation and increased greenhouse emissions

Globally, deforestation and forest degradation currently account for up to 20 per cent of global man-made CO2 emissions, the third-largest source after coal and oil. The carbon storage service provided by the world's forests is vital for climate stabilization and forest conservation. Sustainable development programs such as the HoB Initiative are vital in the battle to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The rapid decline of biodiversity

The Living Planet report highlights the dramatic decline in the world’s biodiversity by using a global Living Planet Index which tracks 9,000 populations of more than 2,600 species. The global Index shows an almost 30 per cent decrease since 1970, with the tropics the hardest hit – where there has been a 60 per cent decline in less than 40 years – highlighting the essential need to conserve tropical rainforest areas such as the HoB.

Lowering our carbon footprint

The report concludes that both business and governments will need to find more sustainable means of economic growth and resource production while lowering their carbon footprint.

WWF’s Heart of Borneo Global Initiative (HoBGI) team leader, Adam Tomasek said the conservation and sustainable development efforts in the Heart of Borneo, by the island’s three governments, (Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia) is essential to address the destructive trends revealed in the Living Planet Report.

“The Heart of Borneo Initiative is one of WWF’s flagship sustainability initiatives for South-East Asia and a significant contributor to protecting the planet’s fragile ecosystem,” he said.

Mr Tomasek believes the rapidly emerging green economy model, offers the best solution for sustaining the needs of business, governments and their citizens in Borneo, while at the same time protecting the rich biodiversity of the island and lowering carbon footprints.

“With the overwhelming trend for growing industrial land development and over consumption, starkly outlined by WWF’s 2012 Living Planet Report, we can only sustain and conserve our vital natural areas (such as the HoB), if business and governments move away from business as usual and drive a shift towards green economic development in this region.”

Opportunities at the Rio+20 Summit

WWF’s Living planet Report is launched just five weeks before nations, businesses and civil society gather in Rio de Janeiro for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20 ). Twenty years on from the last Earth summit, this meeting is a key opportunity for global leaders to reconfirm their commitment to creating a sustainable future.

WWF is calling on business and governments to showcase the leadership initiatives underway in the Heart of Borneo to demonstrate the opportunities and benefits of a green economy at the Rio+20 Summit.

"In 2007, the three HoB governments showed great vision in signing the historic HoB Declaration to conserve and sustainably develop this 220,000 km2 of globally significant rainforest. At this year’s Rio+20 Summit we can show how transition to green economies in the Heart of Borneo can start to reverse the devastating trends highlighted in the 2012 Living Planet Report.”

To learn more about the 2012 edition of WWF’s Living Planet Report, please visit

For further information on WWF’s HoB Initiative and the Green Economy plan contact:

Adam Tomasek, Leader, Heart of Borneo Initiative
Tel: +62 21 7829461 ext. 422, Fax: +62 21 7829462, Mobile: +62 811 9917855
E-mail: atomasek@wwf.or.id

Chris Greenwood, International Communications Manager, Heart of Borneo Initiative, WWF
Mobile: +60 128281214
E-mail: cgreenwood@wwf.org.my

For additional queries on aspects of the report please contact:
Chris Chaplin, cchaplin@wwf.sg, +86 13911747472
Richard McLellan, rmclellan@wwfint.org, +41 79 786 9609
Natalie Boudou nboudou@wwfint.org, +41 79 820 2898

Notes to editors

What is the Heart of Borneo (HoB)?
The Heart of Borneo covers more than 22 million hectares (220,000 km2) of equatorial rain forest across the countries of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia. One of Asia’s last great rainforests, it includes some of the most biologically diverse habitats on earth, and is one of only two places on earth where elephants, orangutans, rhinoceros and clouded leopards share the same territory. In the past 15 years, more than 500 new flora or fauna species have been discovered, at a rate of more than three per month.

Borneo’s cultural diversity is as distinct and varied as the island’s animal and plant life. In Kalimantan (Indonesia) alone, 142 different languages are believed still to be in use today. Many people depend directly on the forest for edible and medicinal plants; fish; meat; construction materials and water. As the headwaters of the island’s major rivers lie in Borneo’s central highlands, protection is critical to ensuring reliable clean water supplies to a large number of human settlements, and the thriving industries that have developed in coastal urban center.

The Heart of Borneo Declaration

In February 2007, the governments of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia signed the Heart of Borneo Declaration to protect an area of more than 220,000 square kilometres in the centre of the island and bordering all three countries. Together they emphasised the  fact that these tropical rainforests have strategic, global, national and local functions, not only for citizens of these three countries but for the global human race.

The Declaration is supported under important regional and international agreements such as Association of East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC), and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD).  For more information visit: www.panda.org/heartofborneo.

About WWF

WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit panda.org/news for latest news and media resources.

About ZSL

Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity: our role is the conservation of animals and their habitats. ZSL runs ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, carries out scientific research in the Institute of Zoology and is actively involved in field conservation in over 50 countries worldwide. www.zsl.org

About GFN

The Global Footprint Network promotes a sustainable economy by advancing the Ecological Footprint, a tool that makes sustainability measurable. Together with its partners, the network coordinates research, develops methodological standards and provides decision makers with robust resource accounts to help the human economy operate within the Earth’s ecological limits. www.footprintnetwork.org

About ESA

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA is an international organization with 19 member states. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. The Agency’s various programmes are designed to find out more about Earth, its immediate space environment, our solar system and the universe. www.esa.int

WWF Living Planet Report 2012
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