The reasons for the deforestation of the tropical rain forest on Borneo are easy to recognize, large-scale needs for the industrial use of the palm oil industry, the wood production itself and the need of arable land for small farmers.
Firewood for cooking, wood pulp for wood pulp and paper production and hardwood which is used as building material are mainly obtained. The timber production on Borneo has become a powerful industry that creates countless jobs.
The need for wood for cooking is reduced to the remotest areas with the construction of a continuous gas supply infrastructure. However, hardwood as a building material is still in demand. In villages outside of urban areas hardwood is used as a carrier for residential buildings.
Small farmers in the rainforest
Rice farmers periodically burn their farmland to free it from wild growth. Existing arable land is being prepared for sowing eg rice, peanuts, corn etc. Affected are relatively small areas whose trees were cut down long ago.
Small farmers burn their fields following the cycle of the fruit season following and not distributed over the year. Therefore, the most significant impact is the deteriorated air quality. The slash and burn of smallholders also contributes to the formation of haze (smog), which is also noticeable in Singapore.
To minimize this effect, small farmers are offered plant killers at reasonable prices.
Fire clearings are also used to gain new arable land for industrial use. The valuable trees are first cut down and the rest of the land is subsequently burned.
The palm oil industry has undoubtedly the greatest need for new arable land as global consumption continues to increase. Palm oil is found in the food chain and is considered “healthy” due to its low content of unsaturated fatty acids. In Malaysia, admixture of palm oil for the production of biodiesel is promoted.
Forest fire fighting
Natural forest fires on Borneo are another factor driving the deforestation of the rainforest. Western states exposed to such natural events also have an adequate forest fire fighting infrastructure. In remote areas of Borneo, however, forest fires are hardly or not at all under control, as there is no nationwide forest fire fighting.
The consequences of the deforestation of the rainforest are versatile. The rainforest provides habitat for many animals and plants that can not survive in other habitats. The most well-known species whose habitat is taken by the deforestation of rainforest are orangutans.
The deforestation of the rainforest contributes to climate change through the release of carbon.
Smoke clouds (haze) caused by slash-and-burn are even noticeable in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.