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Devastation in Sarawak forests – photos

Wed 2011-Mar-30 @ +08 23:00:00 pm
Click the photo for large full screen image
Google Earth image showing logging trails snaking through a region of Sarawak bordering Brunei. The jungle across the border is almost untouched. [Source: mongabay.com]

Photos to back claim of extensive deforestation in Sarawak

Photographs of Google Earth views of Sarawak show the extent of deforestation in the state, says the environmental and conservation web site Mongabay.com, which published a dozen photographs on Monday of forests in Sarawak, compared to the state of forests in neighbouring Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) and Brunei.

Mongabay said the photographs disprove claims by Sarawak chief minister Taib Mahmud that as much as 70 percent of Sarawak’s forests remain.

The images seem to lend support to claims from environmentalists that Sarawak’s forests have been heavily logged. Some groups estimate that Sarawak has lost 90 percent of its primary forest cover. Most of what remains is forest that has been selectively — but heavily — logged two or three times in the past 30 years. Some forest areas have been converted for timber, wood-pulp, and timber plantations.

Click the photo for large full-screen image

A network of logging roads carved into primary rain forest: Sarawak’s forests compared to Kalimantan [Source: Mongabay.com]

Lukas Straumann of the Bruno Manser Fund was quoted as saying: “We know from satellite imagery that less than 10% (possibly less than 5%) of Sarawak’s forests are still intact. Taib himself stated in 2001 that 90% of loggable trees had been cut so that the forestry industry needed to start looking out for new sources of timber.”

Recently former British prime minister Gordon Brown said in a newspaper article that deforestation of Sarawak was “probably the biggest environmental crime of our times”. Brown was heavily criticised in Malaysian web sites for this claim, as well as his support for his sister-in-law, Clare Rewcastle.

Clare Rewcastle runs the hugely popular Sarawak Report web site, which has published extensive accounts of the wealth and luxurious lifestyle of the Taib family, said to be illegally obtained through his control of land and timber resources, and government contracts, from his Chief Minister’s office.

» FULL STORY, 12 PHOTOS: Mongabay.com

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One Comment
  1. Fri 2011-Apr-1 @ +08 19:06:02 pm 19:06

    Now they’ve cut down all the trees, what will be the next step? That would be great if they could find a way to make money restoring the ecosystem…

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