Borneo is home to the world's oldest tropical rainforests which, until a few decades ago, completely covered the island. Among the planet's most biologically diverse ecosystems, these forests are home to thousands of endemic animal, reptile, insect and plant species as well as orangutans, rhinos, hornbills, macaques, gibbons, tarsiers, and slow loris. For countless generations, Borneo's indigenous Dayak subsistence farmers and hunter-gatherers depended upon and sustainably managed these forests as their primary source of livelihood. Under their stewardship, the forests were able to maintain the highest species diversity of any terrestrial ecosystem, supplying food, medicines,cash crops and building materials. This has changed dramatically with the advent of industrial logging and monoculture African oil palm plantations. – Earth Island Institute Website
The Earth Island Institute estimates “that Borneo’s rainforests will disappear by the year 2010.” Visit their comprehensive website for historical background, current assessment of the destruction, what they are doing, and ways to become involved.
William W. Bevis also pleads for the survival of Borneo’s rain forest in Borneo Log : the Struggle for Sarawak’s Forests (Washington University Press, 1995). After a year as an exchange professor at Tokyo University, Bevis spent part of the next year in Sarawak, “a Malaysian state located on the northern part of the island of Borneo.” Moving through the book’s pages, we enter a land where the rain forest is being rapidly cut and the native people are losing their land “bit by bit.” Borneo Log : the Struggle for Sarawak’s Forests won the 1995 Western States Book Award in Creative Nonfiction. Visit the publisher’s website for information.
“Natives have lost almost all control over the land they and their ancestors have inhabited for generations.” – Borneo Log : the Struggle for Sarawak’s Forests, by William W. Bevis