Borneo, the third largest island in the world, is densely covered with rainforests. Because of amazing land reforms such as swampy coastal areas and mountainous interiors, many parts of the island are unexploited and inaccessible. However, it is known as the largest island in the Malay Archipelago covering an area of 743,330 square kilometers. Mount Kinabalu, the highest point of Borneo with an elevation of 4095m stands in Sabah, Malaysia.
The island enjoys ideal geographical location surrounded by the South China Sea to the north and northwest, the Sulu Sea to the northeast, the Celebes Sea and the Makassar Strait to the east, and the Java Sea and Karimata Strait to the south. It is a casket of rich biological diversification, especially consisting of flora and fauna. There are 15,000 species of flowering plants, 3,000 species of trees, 221 species of terrestrial mammals and 420 species of birds.
One of the world’s famous bio-diverse places, Borneo is a treasury of several new species of animals and plants, which are being discovered ever and again. It is a natural habitant to the gentle great ape, the Orang-Utan. As well, the island is home to other endangered species such as the Sumatran Rhino, Clouded Leopard and Asian Elephant.
Borneo, the world’s third island, is divided amongst three countries namely Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. It is covered by dense rainforests and experienced undue alteration for over sixty years.
Because of unparallel biodiversity, the World Wide Fund for Nature divides the island of Borneo into seven distinct ecoregions that include the Borneo lowland rain forests, the Borneo peat swamp forests, the Kerangas (or Sundaland) heath forests, the Southwest Borneo freshwater swamp forests, the Sunda Shelf mangroves and the Borneo mountain rain forests. While going through the highest elevation to the Mount Kinabalu, get a chance to observe the Kinabalu mountain alpine meadow, an alpine shrubland along with its numerous endemic species, as well as many orchids.
Ongoing deforestation has brought plenty of changes in the habitat of inhabitants. Areas under the forest cover have shrunk from the past to the present. Borneo’s lowland forests outside protected areas are fast depleting while upland forests will disappear by 2020. Excessive plantation of palm tress has resulted in the degradation of tropical rainforest. Many species of animals, reptiles, and birds are at the verge of extinction. Because of increasing demand for palm oil, forest tresses are ruthlessly cut down, which affects the natural plantation. Poaching is another big threat for the wildlife, especially for those animals such as tigers, rhinos and orang-utans, which are already at the stage of disappearance.Photo Credit:NASA Earth Observatory