Thursday, 3 October 2019

Planned roads would be 'dagger in the heart' for Borneo's forests and wildlife

Date:  September 18, 2019
Source:  James Cook University
Malaysia's plans to create a Pan-Borneo Highway will severely degrade one of the world's most environmentally imperilled regions, says a research team from Australia and Malaysia.
"This network of highways will cut through some of the last expanses of intact forest in Borneo, greatly increasing pressures from loggers, poachers, farmers and oil-palm plantations," said Professor Bill Laurance, project leader from James Cook University in Australia.
"This would be a nightmare for endangered species such as the Bornean orangutan, clouded leopard and dwarf elephant," said Professor Laurance.
The study focused on new planned highways in the Malaysian state of Sabah, in the north of Borneo, the world's third-largest island.
"Some of the planned highways are relatively benign, but several are flat-out dangerous," said Dr Sean Sloan, lead author of the study and also from James Cook University. "The worst roads, in southern Sabah, would chop up and isolate Sabah's forests from the rest of those in Borneo."
"Slicing up the forests is toxic for large animals, such as elephants, bearded pigs and sloth bears, that must migrate seasonally to find enough food or otherwise face starvation," said Professor Laurance.
The new roads would also bisect protected areas in northern Borneo, making them vulnerable to illegal poachers and encroachers, say the researchers.

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