Biological Diversity in the Sunadaland (a biological hotspot consisting of the area around Malaysia and Sumatra among other countries). Over 25 thousand species of animals inhabit this area which is rich in animal and plant diversity. One of the greatest problems of such a diverse area is that it has so many problems—Constant deforestation and environmental degradation of the land by the human population have caused many species to become critically endangered.
One such species, rarely seen by humans and thought to be completely extinct by some is the Black shrew. One of the smallest mammals in the world, the black shrew is a generally solitary rodent, and has been known to be very aggressive towards others of its species. The black shrew represents the mystery the world around us that we may never get to enjoy. Here is this interesting, tiny little rodent that lives in the mountains of Malaysia. A creature we know almost nothing about, and we may never get to know anything about it ever because of the effects of humanity on the endemic population of animals and plants.
Malaysia, one nation within the Sundaland and supposed home to the black shrew, has its share of problems. Constant deforestation over the past half century has destroyed a large chunk of the forest area (in the last five years over 400 new species have been given endangered status), and many scientists stress for the need to conserve such a rich environment. Malaysia as a country has taken many strides to conserve what is left of their rapidly declining forests including logging regulations and the introduction of ecotourism have begun the process of conservation. They still have a long way to go if they intend to halt the loss of their uniquely biodiverse region of the Sundaland.
The Sundaland, and Malaysia aren’t just unique for their fauna. Thousands of unique plant species inhabit the tropical rainforest regions of the Sundaland. Of the 25,000 species of flora found in the Sundaland, 15,000 (60%) are exclusively endemic to the region. One such endemic species found nowhere else in the world is the curiously morbid Amorphophallus titanum.
The titan arum or Amorphophallus titanum (from Ancient Greece amorphos, “without form, misshapen” + phallos, “phallus”, and “titan” “giant”) is endemic to western Sumatra, where it grows in openings in rainforests on limestone hills. The titan arum is a flowering plant with the largest unbranched inflorescense (a group or cluster of flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of branches) in the world, as it can reach over 10 feet. This plant is not only distinct because of it’s granduer however, it’s also nicknamed the “corpse flower,” because it’s fragrance is reminiscent of rotting flesh.
The Indonesian government is implementing policies to promote conservation, but it’s impossible to conserve all forested areas so actions are taking place in order to figure out the key areas and preserve them as adequately as possible. More about the conservative actions can be read about here.