Borneo » City Info » Geography

Borneo is densely covered with rainforests. The rainforests of Borneo are estimated to be around 140 million years old, the oldest forests on the Earth. Because of significant 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 743,330kmĀ². Its highest point is Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, with an elevation of 4,095m (13,435ft).

Photo Credit: PD Photo

The island enjoys an 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, predominantly consisting of flora and fauna. There are over 15,000 species of flowering plants, over 3,000 species of trees, around 220 species of terrestrial mammals, and over 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 habitat to the gentle great ape, the Orang-Utan. The island is also home to other endangered species such as the Sumatran Rhino, Clouded Leopard, and Asian Elephant.

Deforestation in Borneo

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has divided the island into seven distinct eco-regions:

  • Borneo lowland rain forests
  • Borneo peat swamp forests
  • Kerangas (or Sundaland) heath forests
  • Southwest Borneo freshwater swamp forests
  • Sunda Shelf mangroves
  • The Borneo montane rain forests
  • The Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands on South Kalimantan

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 forests outside protected areas are fast depleting. Excessive plantation of palm trees has resulted in the degradation of tropical rainforest. Many species of animals, reptiles, and birds are on the verge of extinction. Because of the increasing demand for palm oil, forest tresses are ruthlessly cut down, which affects the natural plantation. Poaching is another significant threat for wildlife, especially for tigers, rhinos and orangutans, which are already at the stage of disappearance.