Currently, many forests around the world are going through the process of deforestation. There are many factors both contributing and caused by deforestation, and as a result, indigenous forests like the Borneo Rainforest are negatively impacted on a tremendous scale. Due to many economical and social factors, deforestation in the Borneo Rainforest is still continuing to deplete the land of resources and wildlife despite legal efforts to cease this behavior. This is important because it sets the framework for a variety of complex problems such as species extinction, water shortages with related issues such as droughts and fires, and the lack of ecological and economical stability in the lowlands.So, why is it important for the Borneo forest to be protected? Borneo is home to one of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests which used to cover the entire island before decades have passed. For many generations, Borneo’s Dayak subsistence farmers and hunter-gatherers relied on but sustainably preserved these forests because it is their primary source of livelihood (“Borneo”). Deforestation and forest degradation as a whole can account for up to 20 percent of global manmade carbon dioxide emissions. It is predicted that if the current rate of deforestation for Borneo remains unchanged, the region will be severely impacted by climate change through the increased risk of floods and forest fires, human health impacts, shifts in agricultural yields and damage to infrastructure (“Threats to the Borneo Forest”). If large blocks of forest are not carefully maintained, there is a clear risk that hundreds of species could become extinct. An example of this would be that the Borneo elephant’s natural habitat conflicts with the expansion of human agricultural activities. Other smaller species may not be able to recolonize isolated sections of suitable habitat and as a result will become locally extinct (“Threats to the Borneo Forest”). As the forests that people make their livelihood from slowly shrink, local communities suffer from the effects of deforestation. Hillsides without trees erode at a more rapid pace and silt up rivers, decreasing water quality. Downstream communities are at higher risk of heavy floods during the rainy season and more extreme droughts during the dry season. Wildfires, formerly a rare occurrence in Borneo, are now commonly damaging the landscape, causing widespread respiratory problems from smoke inhalation, as well as releasing millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere (“The Problem: Deforestation in Borneo – Health In Harmony”).There are different ways that deforestation in the Borneo Rainforest occurs. Logging, land-clearing and conversion activities are considered to be a few of the biggest dangers to the Heart of Borneo. One specific concern is the conversion of the natural forests to palm oil and timber plantations (“Threats to the Borneo Forest”). In Kalimantan, 56 percent of protected lowland tropical rainforests were cut down between 1985 and 2001 to meet the global timber demand, which is more than 29,000 square kilometers (“Threats to the Borneo Forest”). Road construction through protected areas also lead to further separation of habitat ranges, leaving the remaining parts of the virgin forest more vulnerable (“Threats to the Borneo Forest”).Therefore, it is important to not only put a stop to all the causes of deforestation in the Borneo forest, but find alternatives to the reasonings as to why these processes are happening. Otherwise, the region’s inhabitants will face consequences that include but are not limited to; droughts, fires, soil erosion, decrease in water quality, and floods. Many species, both animal and plants alike, are becoming critically endangered and have the potential to be extinct permanently. In addition to all of this, the Borneo forest, which acts both as a carbon sink and absorber, is currently releasing tons of carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere, slowly contributing to the change of the whole global climate.


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