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Oakley, S.; Pilcher, N.; Wood, E. (2000). Borneo, in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 2. Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to The Pacific. pp. 361-379
In: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) (2000). Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 2. Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to The Pacific. Pergamon: Amsterdam. ISBN 0-08-043207-7. XXI, 920 pp., more

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Document type: Review


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  • Oakley, S.
  • Pilcher, N.
  • Wood, E.

    The seas of Borneo lie in one of the most biodiverse areas of the world, and have a range of environments, species and habitats of global significance. The island sits astride the Equator, and is divided into Brunei, East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) and Indonesia (Kalimantan). Only in Brunei are large areas of original forest still intact; elsewhere they are being heavily logged for timber which, aside from terrestrial consequences, has dramatically increased sediment loads in rivers and has smothered and killed nearshore marine communities. Mangrove forests are also being heavily logged and many have been destroyed by conversion and landfill (up to 80% loss in Kalimantan) . Petrochemicals are important throughout Borneo but there is limited industrial development, so that human and agricultural wastes are the most significant sources of pollution. Human populations are growing while waste treatment infrastructure is lagging behind. Population pressures are also the cause of widespread overfishing. All nearshore resources are over exploited, while huge areas of coral reefs are being systematically destroyed by both blast fishing and cyanide fishing. Only reefs protected by ecotourism are in good condition and support breeding populations of the largest fish. There is a desperate need for well managed marine protected areas where fishing is prohibited, and where adult fish and other resources can mature and breed. Borneo is still a place of unspoilt wild natural beauty , containing huge areas of undisturbed mangrove swamps and reduced areas of pristine coral reefs, large populations of river dolphins and important turtle nesting areas. However, the threats to these are increasing, large areas being destroyed, and management measures mostly do not protect the diversity. This chapter describes the physical environment, the issues and threats, as well as the steps that concerned people in the region are taking towards a more sustainable future.

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