Imagine a beautiful place where wildlife thrives. It’s tranquil, lush, and almost completely untouched by humans. It’s a place that benefits the Earth because the plants and animals in it coexist exactly as Mother Nature intended. Many of you would call this place a paradise. Unfortunately, this paradise is being threatened. It’s being destroyed, leaving animals without a home and accelerating climate change. Rain forest conservation in Borneo is the key to stopping this destruction.
Threat #1: Deforestation and Land Conversion
Rain forests are filled with trees that are highly sought after for timber. Trees are cut down and replaced with single species such as palm, which are then used to produce agricultural commodities such as palm oil. Single-species plantations are taking over, and they are a threat to rain forests because animals and other plants are unable to thrive in the controlled growing areas.
What can you do? Choose foods and products that aren’t made from palm oil. Choose products made with other oils such as olive oil, corn oil, or sunflower oil. Reconsider your furniture purchase if it is made from tropical hardwood.
Threat #2: Climate Change
Rain forest trees pull carbon out of the atmosphere (storing it in the roots, stems, leaves, and branches of the plants) and transform it into life-giving oxygen. The process also helps recycle and clean our water supplies. The trees provide shade to animals, and make it possible for other plants and trees to flourish.
Rain forests are often called “the lungs of the planet,” because of these important carbon-oxygen-water processes. As rain forests are cut down, the climate becomes hotter and biodiversity is lost. The snowball effect is dangerous to animals, humans, and the environment as a whole.
What can you do? Support organizations like Health In Harmony that are tackling climate change by engaging local communities to help tropical rain forest conservation in Borneo. Do what you can to reduce your own greenhouse gas emissions. Make sustainable choices in your food, clothing, and furniture purchases. Choose recycled products and certified sustainable wood products.
Threat #3: Extinction
Gunung Palung National Park is home to one of the last remaining viable Bornean orangutan populations in the world. The Borneo orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) was just re-classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as "critically endangered," which is just one step from extinction. Populations are unable to withstand the threat of habitat destruction and illegal hunting.
What can you do? Avoid purchasing products containing palm oil. Often, the forests are cut down in order to plant trees for the production of palm oil.
Threat #4: Water Quality
Rain forests provide high-quality drinking water. There are 20 major rivers in Borneo, and as forests are cleared, there is less vegetation to catch all of the rain, leading to erosion. This degrades the water quality because of the sediments collecting in them, and the sediment load damages turbines. This can affect not only the drinking water, but also the quality of vegetation being grown upstream.
What can you do? Again, making informed decisions in your purchases will help you avoid products such as foods, beauty supplies, and furniture that contributes to deforestation.
What else can you do?
All of these threats need to be stopped right away before Borneo’s rain forests are lost forever. Awareness and education about these threats is the first defense. We need to build the support needed to get the government, activists, and other large influencers to take action on rain forests. We need to become bigger than the forces that are trying to damage the planet’s beautiful forests.
Please consider donating to help us continue funding initiatives to end illegal logging in Gunung Palung National Park and support rain forest conservation in Borneo. With your help, we can stop the destruction in Borneo’s precious rain forests.