Friday, 23 January 2015

Poor outlook for Borneo's mammals

22 January 2015 Last updated at 17:20

By Helen BriggsEnvironment correspondent, BBC News
(l) The Sunda clouded leopard photographed in the Deramakot Forest Reserve in Sabah Malaysian Borneo

Half of Borneo's mammals will see their habitats shrink by at least a third by 2080, according to a study.

By then, twice as many mammals as now will be at risk of extinction, say conservationists.

Climate change, loss of rainforest and hunting is a threat to many rare mammals on the island.

But there is hope for species like the orang-utan if action is taken to focus conservation efforts on upland areas, scientists report in Current Biology.

Borneo is the world's third largest island, accounting for 1% of the world's land yet about 6% of global biodiversity.

The island has already lost over half its forests, a third disappearing in the last three decades.

A team led by researchers at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent, UK, used modelling and satellite images to predict where rainforest will be lost over the next 65 years, based on predictions of climate change and changes in land use.

Working with institutes in Germany, Australia and Indonesia, they mapped the likely suitable habitat for each of 81 Bornean mammals.

They found that deforestation and climate change would lead to 30-49% of mammals losing at least a third of their habitat by 2080.

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