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December 28, 2006
A new report by WWF details how scientists have uncovered dozens of species of plants and animals formerly unknown to science in the jungles and coastal waters of the Indonesian island of Borneo. Scientists working under the auspices of WWF’s Heart of Borneo
program report discovering 30 unique fish species, two tree frog species, 16 ginger species, three tree species and one large-leafed plant species.
"These discoveries reaffirm Borneo’s position as one of the most important centers of biodiversity in the world," says Stuart Chapman, coordinator of WWF’s Borneo program. "The more we look the more we find."
Chapman emphasizes the importance of such findings in light of the acceleration of forest clearing on the remote Indonesian island, which he considers one of the world’s final frontiers for science. Since 1996, deforestation across Indonesia has increased
by an average of five million acres a year, with only about half of Borneo’s original forest cover remaining. Chapman hopes that the discoveries made by his team and other scientists will help convince the governments of Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia, which
jointly administer Borneo, to institute greater checks on deforestation and resource extraction there.
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