SIGNIFICANCE OF OUR RAINFOREST
Tropical rainforests cover only 6% of the planet’s surface but in terms of biodiversity, they contain more than 50% of the world’s terrestrial plant and animal species. On plants alone, tropical rainforests are thought to be the exclusive home for 170,000 of the world’s 250,000 known plant species.
The largest intact tropical rainforest in the world is in the Amazon River Basin and it dwarfs the Malaysian rainforests in size by far. However, age-wise, the Amazon jungle’s estimated age of 55 to 70 million years is way younger. Estimated at around 130 million years old, Malaysia’s rainforests is host to some of the most diverse tropical ecosystems in the world. During the Ice Age, Southeast Asia’s rainforests continued to experience moist temperatures due to its geographical location. This, in turn, allowed them to develop much earlier than the tropical rainforests of Africa and South America, the Amazon included.
Over millions of years, Malaysia’s rainforests have nurtured a tremendous diversity of flora and fauna and has served as home to countless unique mammal and bird species. Scientists estimate that they host around 20% of the world’s animal species. Recognized as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, Conservation International listed Malaysia as one of 17 countries described as “mega diverse”.
Closer to us, the Penang Hill virgin jungle reserve area, on the fringe of which The Habitat sits, is believed to be part of Malaysia’s treasure trove of prehistoric rainforests dating back 130-million years old. Besides its rich biodiversity, it plays an important role as primary water catchment area for Penang island.
Our rainforests also provide essential ecosystem services for sustenance of life including climate regulation, water & nutrient recycling, air purification, carbon storage and soil stability.
"Look deep into nature,
and then you will understand everything better.