Biodiversity

On a 20-minute walk through the rainforest of Borneo, you will encounter more tree species than exist on the entire North American continent. The distinctive biodiversity of the area attracts tourists and researchers from all over the world, in spite of the intense destruction of the rainforest from logging and palm oil plantations in the past few decades. Mega-dams are the newest threat to the rich wildlife of Borneo.

As the rainforest is destroyed and the  reservoirs fill up with water, the SCORE dams would have a devastating impact on the biodiversity of the region. Researchers from the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) of the University of California, Berkeley have recently conducted a biodiversity impact study looking at 3 of the 12 proposed SCORE dams and have uncovered alarming facts:

  • The 3 dams (Murum, Bakun, and Baram) would result in the loss of 110 individual mammals. This is more individuals than the 2012 inventory for all cattle in the United States.
  • The 3 dams would result in the loss of 34 million individual birds, more individual birds than were counted in the 2012 North American Breeding Bird Survey.
  • A minimum of 900 million individual trees and 34 billion individual arthropods would also be lost. 

Destroying the abundant wildlife of Borneo can be easily avoided if the government looks at the facts. Learn about the viable energy alternatives to mega-hydro projects in Sarawak here.

 

Resources

RAELReports Summary

BALI (joint project between Universities of Aberdeen, Lancaster, Cambridge and Edinburgh,)

LEAP Spiral’s current conservation initiatives in Malaysian Borneo.

Take a closer look at tree cover in Malaysia through Global Forest Watch.

Learn more about the Bornean rainforest on Mongabay’s Borneo page .

Are you a fan of the games? Learn how the 2020 Olympic games in Japan are affecting the Bornean Rainforests.