A Wealth of Biodiversity


Malaysia is one of the world’s twelve megadiverse countries (Kean et al, 2010) and Southeast Asia has highest mean proportion of country-endemic bird and mammal species of any world region; 9% and 11% respectively. The region also has the highest proportion of threatened vascular plant, reptile, bird, and mammal species. The number of species present in Malaysia includes around 300 mammals; 750 birds; 600 reptiles; 250 amphibians; 150,000 invertebrates; 15,000 flowering plants, as well as 4000 marine fish, 450 freshwater fish, thousands of orchids and ferns and hundreds of palms, fungi and mosses (NRE, 2014 and 2015). Deforestation is of the highest rate in the tropics and has increased steadily in recent times. Projected losses to biodiversity are 13–85% by 2100 (Sodhi et al., 2009, p317). Forest ecosystems in Malaysia are extremely varied, as examined in previous topics, consisting of numerous terrestrial forest types including dipterocarp, oak, heath and bamboo forests and riparian, swamp and mangrove wetland forests.
These habitats lie within a country entirely within in the equatorial zone with a warm year-round climate, the average daily temperature varying from 21°C to 32°C. This chapter draws extensively on the Fifth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity (NRE, 2014) to describe biodiversity in Malaysia.

Completion Requirements

  • Explore all topic, themes and concepts
  • Read the core texts identified in the Books section

Learning Outcomes

  • Define the biodiversity context of Malaysia
  • Identify major flora and fauna of Malaysia
  • Synthesize policy and reality of Malaysia’s biodiversity
  • Comprehend the implications of biodiversity impacts
  • Identify and describe potentially disruptive technologies
  • Apply the UN Sustainable Development Goals to areas of knowledge introduced in earlier topics




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