Malaysia One Of 12 Mega Biodiversity Countries In The World
October 10, 2009 00:01 AM
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 (Bernama) -- The diversity in flora and fauna has enabled Malaysia to earn a prestigous spot as one of the 12 mega biodiversity countries in the world.
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas said the country was endowed with over 15,000 species of flowering plants, 1,500 species of terrestrial vertebrates and about 150,000 species of invertebrates.
"The critical factor that has contributed to this rich biological diversity is our ability to protect our forests, in fact, it has been our policy all along to maintain our forests at 50 percent of the total land area.
"At the moment about 60 per cent our land area is covered by forests, totally protected forests areas account for 16 per cent of the land area in Malaysia," he said when launching a novel entitled ""Tiger, King of the Golden Jungle" written by international author Steve Oh at the UCSI University here, on Friday night.
Uggah said with a high proportion of endemic species, Malaysian forests serve as a nature gene bank of biological diversity and played an important role in stabilising the ecosystem.
He said apart from its contribution to biological diversity, forests also play a crucial role in mitigating the effects of climate change.
"As important storehouse of carbon, forests take in and store large quantities of carbon, making them excellent natural carbon sinks,"
"However once disturbed or degraded, due to unsustainable use, these forests will instead become a significant source of carbon, releasing large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere resulting in higher global temperatures.
The novel which took 12 years to complete highlights many issues about the endangered Malayan Tiger and in marking World Tigers Day, which is celebrated worldwide on Sept 27, annually.