Saturday, 25 July 2009

Three countries to protect Kalimantan through `hob` program

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam have committed to protect Kalimantan (Borneo) through their `Heart of Borneo (HOB)` program.

The `Heart of Borneo` program was a natural resource conservation and sustainable utilization program, Hendrik Segah, HOB Coordinator of Central Kalimantan, said here on Friday.

The HOB program is aimed at protecting the sustainable utilization of one of the world`s remaining best forests in Kalimantan for the welfare fo the current and future generations, according to him.

The hearth of Kalimantan is a home for at least 50 Dayak tribes with varied languages and cultures, he said.

Water, forest and soil play crucial role in the life of the Kalimantan people, he said.
The 2000-2002 period, at least 1.2 million hectares of forests in Kalimantan disappeared annually due to illegal logging activities, forest conversions, and forest fires, according to Segah.

Kalimantan`s forests have been degraded and not more than 50 percent of the forest areas are remaining. The forest areas continue to dwindle at an alarming level, diminishing the natural resources and increasing disaster rate.

The island`s forests having better condition are mostly located in high land areas along the borders of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei Darussalam.

The forests have high biological diversity with around 40 and 50 percent of flora and fauna species found only in Kalimantan. Within the last 10 years, there have been new 361 species found.

One of the most important functions of the heart of Kalimantan is as a water source. The island has around 14 to 20 main rivers such as Barito, Mahakam and Kapuas rivers.

On February 12, 2007, the three countries declared their commitment to sustainable management of the high land areas along the borders of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam on Kalimantan or Borneo Island. (*)