Sustainability and Wildlife Conservation Updates: the Malaysian Perspectives

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1 Sustainability and Wildlife Conservation Updates: the Malaysian Perspectives MPOC Reach & Remind Friends of the Industry Seminar: Challenges and Opportunities in 2012 Royale Chulan Hotel 16 January 2012 By Dr. Laurentius Ambu, PhD Director Department of Wildlife Sabah Malaysia

2 Greetings..

3 S A B A H Land Area 74,000 sq. km Population 3.4 m in the centre of BIMP EAGA Land Area 1,564,000 sq km Population 5 8 m of cultural diversity The Heart of Borneo The Coral Triangle The world s most biologically productive & diverse ecosystem on Earth ref. WWF The Soul of Biodiversity Equator Culturally, naturally & historically resonate A World Class Ecotourism Destination EQUATOR ASIA

4 OASIS of STABILITY Heart of BORNEO Sulu -_ Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion Heart of The Coral Triangle Equator In The Heart of South East Asia / ASEAN LAND BELOW THE WIND Population : ASEAN 567 M BIMP-EAGA 58 M Outside the RING OF FIRE Below Typhoon Belt

5 Global Ranking WORLD CLASS Amazon Africa Borneo National Geographic SABAH Malaysian Borneo is in the Centre of BIMP EAGA EQUATOR ASIA in the Heart of Mega Biodiversity Indo Pacific Basin & Malesia Ecoregion In terms of biodiversity per unit area, land & sea, the Heart of Borneo & the Coral Triangle are unmatched in the world WWF. SABAH is the Best of Borneo & the Apex of The Coral Triangle..

6 Coral Sabah Triangle 10 Outstanding in the World Coral Triangle Marine epi centre of the World SABAH Heart of Biodiversity Land & Sea Globally Unique 60 million years old rain forests SABAH Best of Borneo A Premier Nature Adventure Ecotourism Destination 130 million years old Rain forests Heart of Borneo oldest & most diverse rain forests

7 It all began here Cradle of Coral Evolution THE CORAL TRIANGLE Amazon of the Seas The Global Centre of Marine Biodiversity Home to one of the most diverse collections of marine life in the world with > 75 % of coral species known to science 3,000 species of reef fish 500 species of corals The Seas off SABAH Apex of The Coral Triangle

8 Malaysia s Outstanding Biodiversity Malaysia 500 Philippines Japan 400 France Germany Austria Poland Switzerland tallest, richest Sabah has some of the and most diverse tropical rain forests in the world. the rain forests of Danum Valley are magnificent 0 primatologist Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas Mammals Imbak Canyon Birds Reptiles Amphibians

9

10 What is the current scenario?

11 >50% of Sabah s land mass is under PFE 15% of Sabah s land mass is totally protected

12 Current threats: Forest loss Lowland forests are the most accessible and are converted to agriculture: wildlife habitat is diminishing. In Borneo, orang-utan habitat has declined by more than 60% over the past decades (Meijaard and Rijksen, 1999) In Sabah, oil palm plantations cover 1.4 million ha (ca. 18.9% ) of previously lowland forests

13 Current threats: Forest degradation Location Orang-utan density (ind./km 2 ) Logged Forest Overlogged Forest Malua South The only primary forests left in Sabah are protected All primary old-growth forests have been worked out by 2010 (Sabah Forestry Department 1997) Malua North Repeated conventional logging and overlogging induce a significant decline of orang-utan density Segama Segama

14 Current threats: habitat fragmentation Today orang-utan populations survive in small fragmented habitat blocks: More than 400 blocks in Borneo More than 20 blocks in Sumatra Affects orang-utan socio-ecology Increased sensitivity to natural catastrophes (fires, floods, diseases)

15 Current threats: poaching and killing Means of crop protection Sport hunting Pet trade In non-muslim areas: Bushmeat Medicinal use

16 62% outside of Protected Forests

17 64% outside of Protected Forests Sabah State Elephant Action Plan, 2004

18 85% outside of Protected Forests Sha et al., 2008

19 Need to manage wildlife at the landscape level and to consider biodiversity outside of protected areas One major issue: HABITAT FRAGMENTATION and LACK OF CONNECTIVITY

20 KINABATANGAN: 200 ELEPHANTS

21 LANDSCAPE CHANGES

22 HIGH HABITAT FRAGMENTATION

23 Example of a large drain disrupting elephant corridor Habitat degradation

24 Example of a new land clearing reducing habitat size Habitat loss

25 53,000 ha of forest available Only 19,000 ha are available (36% of the original area) Or 1 elephant for 100 ha

26 INCREASED CONFLICTS

27 As a result, localized extinction is inevitable

28 Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary: 1000 animals are isolated in more than 20 different subpopulations because of extensive oil palm plantations, drains and other man-made features

29 Recent studies: drastic population decline in Sabah Western Sabah: local extinction because of past hunting pressure Eastern Sabah: drastic decline because of forest exploitation and conversion to agriculture DNA profiling the past in Kinabatangan: Very strong signal for population collapse in the past 200 years (Goossens et al., 2006)

30 Predictable orang-utan population extinctions following a Population Habitat Viability Analysis Extinction within years Extinction medium term or genetic loss Viable

31 Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary From 2002 to 2007: 30% decline of orang-utan numbers Kulamba Wildlife Reserve Similar decline in aerial indexes during the same period

32 Management treatments?

33 The creation of this MAB requires the collaboration of all partners who are active in the region. The oil palm industry is one of the most crucial players in the success of this project KINABATANGAN PROPOSED MAN AND BIOSPHERE RESERVE

34 Corridors: Reconnecting the sub-populations Several types of barriers cause genetic isolation: Examples of Barrier Plantation Tributary Drain Road River reserve encroachment Possible Management Action Land acquisition + Restoration Bridge Removal, bridge Removal if within sanctuary Removal + Restoration

35 Complete Disruption of the Original Ecological Landscape Destruction of Mangrove forests Conversion of steep slope terrain Destruction of Riparian Habitat Conversion of non-productive land Encroachment in forest reserves

36 Complete Disruption of the Original Ecological Landscape Compaction of habitat available to the orang-utans and other wildlife Extreme simplification of the ecosystem

37 Isolated trees in riparian areas

38 Isolated trees within the oil palm landscape

39 Significance of these findings Most orang-utans are TRANSIENT individuals in search of new territories during their dispersal stage or in search of food Orang-utans cannot survive in the plantations in their current stage OIL PALM PLANTATIONS ARE NOT SUSTAINING VIABLE ORANG-UTAN POPULATIONS Proper management will enhance the chances of long-term survival of the species

40 What solutions? Options? Ensure that plantation development does not contribute to deforestation increasing yields by improving technology and crop management but not by increasing the size of the land to be developed

41 What solutions? Options? Maintain connectivity between forests and fragments of forests by establishing wildlife corridors by planting trees in riparian reserves illegally encroached by creating Conservation Areas alongside river reserves

42 Wildlife corridor: minimum of 100 m each side of the river River River Reserve Conservation Area

43 What solutions? Options? Implement management strategies promoting heterogeneous habitats by diversifying plant species found in the plantations and by planting fruit trees that are edible to wildlife

44 Why the oil palm industry should become involved with conservation efforts? Biodiversity conservation and sustainable development cannot be achieved by only setting aside protected areas: Ecosystems do not have administrative boundaries! Long-term success for development depends on the design of landscapes sustainable for people and nature Such an approach must be adaptive and must involve a wide range of partners

45 Design of greenways Appropriate location (what to link)? Shape and size? Contiguous or Step stones? Practicality in agro-industrial landscape? What tree species?

46 Resolution produced during the 2009 Orang-utan Conservation Colloquium... creation of contiguous wildlife corridors of natural habitat in order to balance sustainable development and the conservation of orang-utans as flagship species for wider biodiversity. The development of such corridors must be pragmatic and enforceable through legal clarity and community engagement. Wildlife corridors must be the minimum of 100 m along each side of all major rivers within the distribution of wild orang-utans

47 IT IS TIME TO SHIFT THIS PARADIGM. AND FOR THE OIL PALM INDUSTRY TO CHANGE ITS IMAGE!

48 THANK YOU THANK YOU!

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