Page | 2 TROPICAL RAINFOREST CASE STUDY: MALAYSIA AQA GCSE This is an important case study and you will have an assessment on the information below. You need to know the following for your case study in Malaysia: Causes of deforestation: subsitence farming commercial farming logging road building mineral extraction energy development settlement and population growthImpacts of deforestation: economic gains and lossessoil erosionloss of biodiversitycontribution to climate changeValue of rainforests to people and the environment Strategies used to manage rainforests sustainably selective logging and re-planting conservation and education ecotourism and international agreements about the use of tropical hardwoods debt reduction Location Malaysia is in South-East Asia It is made up of Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia, which is part of the island of Borneo 67% of Malaysia is covered by the natural tropical rainforest vegetation
Page | 3 MALAYSIA: CAUSES OF DEFORESTATION Subsistence and commercial farming Indigenous (native) tribes practice subsistence farming, however increasingly land is being cleard for commercial farming by large companies–crops and cattle. Malaysia is the biggest exporter of palm oilin the world. Huge areas of rainforest have been converted since the 1970’s. 10 year tax incentivesfor plantation owners encourage further development. Logging Hardwood treessuch as mahogany andteakare highly valued for furntre and other uses. Smaller trees are used fro fuel, paper or charcoal. Malaysia is one of the worlds largest exporters of tropcial wood–much of it invlvoles clear felling(cutting everything down). About 80% of deforestation in Malaysia is due to logging. Recently clear felling has been replaced by ‘selective logging’where only fully grown trees are cut down and trees with important ecological value have been left unharmed. Road building Roads gives accces and supplies to new mining areas, new settlements and energy projects. In Malaysia, logging companies use an extensive network of roads for heavy machinery and to transport wood; for example road constrcution and logging are occuring in Sarawak, East Malaysia (island of Borneo)Mineral extraction Tin miningis common in Peninsula Malaysiaand it also has lots of copper and gold. Drilling for oil and gashas recently started in Borneo. Coalis an imporatnt source of energy, with 99% of Malaysia’s supply in Borneo. Energy development High rainfall areas create ideal conditions for hydro-electric power dams (HEP)and there are several large dams and reservoirs in Malaysia. For example the Bakun Dam in Sarawak, completed in 2011 is 205 metreshigh(highest in Asia –aside from China) and flooded over 700km2of forest and farmland. It supplies energy for the industries in Peninsula Malaysia. Drilling for oil and gas has also started in Borneo.