Big Problems in the Malaysian Forests

Discussions of the great trees and forest of Southeast Asia and the East Indies

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

Post Reply
User avatar
edfrank
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:46 pm

Big Problems in the Malaysian Forests

Post by edfrank » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:06 pm

Big Problems in the Malaysian Forests

From: David A Gabel, ENN
Published March 31, 2011 07:10 AM
http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/42536


Click on image to see its original size
Nowhere is the problem of deforestation greater than in the tropical regions of the world. Specifically, Southeast Asia, which has vast tracts of primal rain forests, is at risk from excessive logging. Recently, governments in that region have come under pressure from environmentalists to conserve what forests they have left. Officials in the state of Sarawak, the Malaysian region of Borneo, have said that 70 percent of their forest cover has been preserved. However, after a review using Google Earth images, indications are that deforestation is much more widespread than is being claimed.
.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

Shorea
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 4:30 am

Re: Big Problems in the Malaysian Forests

Post by Shorea » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:21 pm

Just a clarification for foreigners who may not be aware.

When these officials say 70% forest being preserved, they mean secondary, logged-over forest (they hope nobody knows the difference). But even vast tracks of secondary forest on flat ground have been converted into oil palm.

So there is nothing left to conserve, except to prevent further loss of secondary forest cover. That is the battle now.

User avatar
edfrank
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:46 pm

Re: Big Problems in the Malaysian Forests

Post by edfrank » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:36 pm

Darian,

I know we are only seeing part of the picture from the brief glimpses of what is happening that we have in the media. These issues are covered only as a news filler or not at all.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

Joe

Re: Big Problems in the Malaysian Forests

Post by Joe » Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:53 am

check out April's edition of Scientific American- with a huge multi page adv. by the Indonesian government saying how wonderful they are- and bragging about how eco correct their palm oil plantations are!
Joe

User avatar
KoutaR
Posts: 666
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:41 am

Re: Big Problems in the Malaysian Forests

Post by KoutaR » Sat Apr 02, 2011 10:05 am

Shorea wrote:So there is nothing left to conserve, except to prevent further loss of secondary forest cover. That is the battle now.
Darrin,

Do you mean there is no unprotected primary forest in Malaysia? Even at high elevations?

Kouta

Shorea
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 4:30 am

Re: Big Problems in the Malaysian Forests

Post by Shorea » Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:59 pm

Kouta Räsänen wrote:
Shorea wrote:So there is nothing left to conserve, except to prevent further loss of secondary forest cover. That is the battle now.
Darrin,

Do you mean there is no unprotected primary forest in Malaysia? Even at high elevations?

Kouta
No, I meant there are no more lowland forests left to protect because all have been logged, and the remainder is being turned into plantations. The lowland forest below 300 m ASL has most of the biodiversity (and all the big timber trees).

For example, much has been said about the Danum Valley, but few realize that this measly area is all that is left of an almost contiguous 1 million hectares of lowland forest concession area owned by the Sabah Foundation that has been totally logged out, and still undergoing multiple logging cycles. About 10 years ago, almost a quarter was proposed to be turned into acacia plantations (showing their disregard for the forest). They could have been more generous in their allocation of conservation zones, don't you think?

Logging is extremely unregulated in Sabah, Sarawak, and of course, Kalimantan, and most canopy-sized trees there are large dipterocarp trees; so from the air, most "forest cover" that you see is extremely torn and tattered forest, often it looks almost like scrubland. This is the 70% "forest cover" the state govts are bragging about.

This guy has captured a lot of aerial shots of forest cover in Borneo. Disturbing to see huge areas have already been turned into oil palm.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wak1/sets/

User avatar
KoutaR
Posts: 666
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:41 am

Re: Big Problems in the Malaysian Forests

Post by KoutaR » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:03 am

It's really sad that so little remains. Probably most people do not realize it. At least here in Europe it is usually thought there are vast trackts of primeval rainforest, and popular books usually strenghten that image. The process currently happening in southeast Asia is actually the same which happened in Europe hundreds or even thousends years ago, in eastern North America 100-200 (?) years ago and possibly will happen in the Amazon Basin in the near future.

How about primary montane rainforest? There is probably more left? How is its future?

Thanks also for the link. The guy has travelled hard.

Kouta

Shorea
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 4:30 am

Re: Big Problems in the Malaysian Forests

Post by Shorea » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:23 pm

Kouta Räsänen wrote:It's really sad that so little remains. Probably most people do not realize it. At least here in Europe it is usually thought there are vast trackts of primeval rainforest, and popular books usually strenghten that image. The process currently happening in southeast Asia is actually the same which happened in Europe hundreds or even thousends years ago, in eastern North America 100-200 (?) years ago and possibly will happen in the Amazon Basin in the near future.

How about primary montane rainforest? There is probably more left? How is its future?

Thanks also for the link. The guy has travelled hard.

Kouta
Yeah, you are right that a lot of people in the West still have this notion that South East Asia and Borneo is exotic, steamy, jungle covered land teeming with wildlife. So, there was no pressure to control the timber and oil palm barons during the 70s to early 90s when most of the irreparable damage was done.

There are still a lot of primary montane rainforest, and this also goes into the "national forest cover". Actually most of the remaining forest reserves are sited on hills, mountains, and higher altitudes. The reasons are obvious, lack of timber trees the higher you go up, and you can't grow palm oil on mountains. Montane forest is significantly different from lowlands. But as the supply of timber has diminished, logging in montane forest has increased dramatically. I see logging in montane forest everywhere now. Below 1200 m altitude, you can still find many species of timber trees.

Post Reply

Return to “Southeast Asia & East Indies”