Land and Resources, Environmental Issues
Kinabalu National Park, Mount Kinabalu, Fisheries Act, siltation, Environmental Quality Act
Malaysia is home to some of the world’s most important tropical wildlife habitats, including rich rain forests and at least ten distinct types of wetlands. Malaysia has 2,199 plant and animal species found nowhere else on Earth. However, many species are threatened or endangered due to loss of habitat and poaching (illegal hunting).
Deforestation poses the main threat to Malaysia’s environment. The country is the world’s largest exporter of tropical hardwoods. The current rates of deforestation are unsustainable, however. The logging of upland forests, which are particularly vulnerable, has resulted in erosion, siltation, soil degradation, wildlife loss, and an increase in the amount of flood-prone areas. Many wetlands have also been disturbed or destroyed. The government has protected some areas as national parks. Kinabalu National Park, established in 1964 in Sabah, protects the area around Mount Kinabalu.
Urbanization and industrialization have caused problems with solid-waste management and water pollution, affecting many of the country’s coastal waters and rivers. Inshore and offshore fisheries resources are rapidly being exhausted. The government of Malaysia is seeking to mitigate these problems through various means, including the Environmental Quality Act (1974) and the Fisheries Act (1985), but implementation and enforcement are often hampered by lack of resources.
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