The Tropical Rainforest of Malaysia- Sarawak

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UGB 224E Natural Wonders of the World
Term paper

The Tropical Rainforest of Malaysia – Sarawak

As we all know that deforestation sharply accelerated in these decades, more and more forests disappeared. Environmentally, it causes global warming, soil erosion, decline in biodiversity, degraded ecosystem and water- cycle.[1] Economically and ethically, the deforestation caused by logging and commercial agriculture by the developed countries, like the U.S. The people in developing countries lose their long term profits when the rainforests disappear.[2] In our opinion, it is unfair for the developing countries to lose their long-term income and the biodiversity of the forests in order to satisfy the needs and the high living quality for people in developed countries. Obviously, it is urgent for us to slow down the mushrooming deforestation because of its serious damages in environment, economy and so on. Therefore, we would like to look into deforestation and take the tropical rainforest of Sarawak in Malaysia as our case study for the following reasons. Firstly, the tropical rainforest of Sarawak has precious primary forest cover in the world. Secondly, Malaysia’s rates of deforestation are the highest in Asia, so it is worth to have a research on it.[3]

Characteristics of Tropical Rainforests
Tropical rainforests mostly locate among 10 degrees north or south of the equator. The average annual rainfall is mostly over 2,000 ml and the average temperature is between 25 °C -30 °C. Temperature difference is small. They are homes for many animals and plants on the earth. 80% of the world's species are found in tropical rainforests. There are lots of plants with different species and five layers (the ground layer, the shrub layer, the understorey layer, the canopy layer and the emergent layer).

The Importance of the Tropical Rainforest
Economically, lots of grown crops and spices came from tropical rainforest originally. They are still mostly grown on plantations where formerly primary forests were. These crops include coco, mangoes, papaya and macadamia etc. Biologically and environmentally, tropical rainforests plays significant role in maintaining the stability of eco-system, biological diversity, modulating precipitation, infiltration and flooding as well as protecting the soil. They control greenhouse gases emission and global warming. Moreover, tropical rainforests are named “the world’s largest pharmacy” as large amount of natural medicines is discovered in rainforests, like cocaine etc. For the inhabitants, the food and the space of tropical rainforests support their basic needs of life.

Problem facing Tropical Rainforests
The deforestation is accelerated and serious. The causes of deforestation are mostly human activities, for example, logging for commercial agriculture, exporting of wood, building infrastructure.[4]As mentioned above, deforestation degrades the stability of eco-system and reduces the biodiversity as some species may be extinct. It also accelerates global warming. The loss of long- term income of inhabitants may is unfair. Case study --- the Tropical Rainforests of Sarawak

Background information
It locates on the north-west of Borneo in Malaysia and is between latitude 0° 50’N and 5°N. The total land area of Sarawak is 124,450 km² and 80% of it is covered by tropical rainforest. [5]The population of Sarawak is 2,357,500. For the weather, as it is near to equator and South China Sea, is hot with small seasonal variance in temperature and large amount of rainfall. It is affected by oceanic climate. Its annual average temperature is 25 °C -30 °C while annual rainfall is about 4000 mm. For the details of biodiversity, there are lowland, highland rainforests and primary rainforest.[6] With high and stable temperature and high rainfall, Sarawak has an ideal climate for flora and fauna to flourish, thus has the highest per unit area in the world. Rainforests in Sarawak has rich...
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