The Future of the Bornean Orangutan

Impacts of Change in Land and Climate

image of The Future of the Bornean Orangutan

Over the past century, orangutan populations in Southeast Asia have seen a very steep decline, driven to the brink of extinction by a host of man-made threats. Deforestation, illegal logging, the expansion of agro-industrial plantations and hunting – these forces combined to isolate orangutans into precarious pockets of forest on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Now, a new threat has emerged: climate change. This report assesses the impacts of land cover change and climate change on Borneo's endangered orangutans. It also examines the major driver of deforestation – the expansion of oil palm – and analyses how various land-use scenarios might impact the region through different climate change projections. As global initiatives are being set in place, it is encouraged to utilize these approaches to ensure a path towards sustainable development, not just for the benefit of humankind, but also for its closest relatives, the orangutans.




Traditionally the main threats to biodiversity have come from changes to land cover as well as hunting. Recently another threat has become apparent: climate change. An increasing number of studies suggest that climate change is having negative impacts on biodiversity and that these impacts will increase in the future. It is therefore important to assess whether the impact of climate change will add to the existing threat of land-cover change, particularly in regions where habitat loss is high and a large proportion of the world's biodiversity resides; regions such as the island of Borneo. In this report the impacts of land cover and climate change are assessed for one of Borneo's most iconic species, the Bornean orangutan.


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