Biodiversity Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given species, ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas Polar Regions support fewer species. (Source: Wikipedia)

Biodiversity in Malaysia - the Kinabatangan Basin
According to the World Development Indicators, while Malaysia has only 0.2% of the land mass of the world, it has one of the richest biodiversity of fauna and flora in the world, second only to Indonesia in South East Asia. The 2001 Global Diversity Outlook recognized Malaysia as one of the 12 mega-diversity countries in the world, hosting grounds to more than 170 000 of fauna and flora species.

BiodiversityThis is due to:

  • The wet tropical climate which is conducive to species growth and evolution

  • The great diversity of ecosystems of seas, rivers, lakes, forests, mountains and mangrove swamps

  • The long standing tropical rainforests, dating as far back as 130 million years facilitating evolutionary diversification. South-east Asia's rainforests are believed to be the oldest ecosystem on Earth, at 70-100 million years old according to the fossil record.

  • Malaysia was covered mainly by forest about 100 years ago. Present forest ecosystems comprise about 3.3 million ha of forested wetlands, which is equivalent to 10% of the country’s land area. As of 2002, 3% of these are mangroves, 7.2% peat swamp while freshwater swamps and other marsh areas make up 2.5% and 3.5% respectively. Freshwater swamps and peat swamps are the most threatened wetland habitats. In abiding to the RamsarConvention, a global intergovernmental treaty established in 1971, 5 Ramsar sites have been designated for the sustainable conservation of wetlands and their resources.


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