In 1973, old-growth forests covered 55.8 Mha (76%) of Borneo’s land area (Gaveau et al., 2014). An estimated 18.7 Mha (34%) were cleared between 1973 and 2015, with 14.4 Mha in Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan) and 4.2 Mha in Malaysian Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak), respectively (David et al., 2016)
The total area developed as industrial plantations reached 9.2 Mha in 2015 (minimum size of a plantation = 90 ha; max = 560,000 ha; mean = 4,600 ha) or 12% of Borneo’s land area. More than a half of these plantations (4.8 Mha) were planted between 2005 and 2015.
Approximately 7.0 Mha (76%) of the total area of industrial plantations in 2015 (9.2 Mha), were old-growth forest in 1973, of which 4.5 Mha had been planted rapidly, i.e. within five years of forest clearance
In addition, have been reported that approximately, 83,362 ha of forest have been permanently flooded by the creation of the hydroelectric power dams of Bakun and Murum between 2011 and 2014 in Sarawak (Sovacool & Bulan, 2013; Keong, 2005)
This rare species is found only in dipterocarp forest in Borneo. This fungus has an interesting structure/ fruiting body that can absorb water such as sponges in wet, fresh and humid habitats as described by Desjardin, 2011. This shows that this fungus needs its own habitat that may exist in the Borneo archipelago where its population is limited.
The species was first described scientifically online in May 2011 in the journal Mycologia, authored by American mycologists Dennis E. Desjardin, Kabir Peay, and Thomas Bruns. The description was based on two specimens collected by Bruns in 2010 in Lambir Hills National Park, in Sarawak, Malaysia.
The dipterocarp-dominated forest in Borneo is a natural habitat for Spongiforma squarepantsii and deforestation for oil palm plantations can destroy local biodiversity including this rare species. Have been reported that forest fires in Borneo have become a large-scale cause of forest degradation and loss since the El Niño droughts of 1983 (Wooster et al., 2012; Malingreau et al., 1985; Siegert et al., 2001). Once the forest has burned, the increased risk of subsequent fires leads many forests to cycles of repeated burns (Hoscilo et al., 2011). Such cycles have converted millions of hectares of old-growth and selectively logged forest to degraded scrublands (Hoscilo et al., 2011; Guhardja, 2000). Some of the remaining forests were converted to industrial plantations (mainly oil-palm and pulpwood) (Abood et al., 2014; Wicke et al., 2011), small-scale agriculture and mining operations (Brearley, 2007), while some have been flooded by dams (Sovacool & Bulan, 2013; Keong, 2005).
Spongiforma squarepantsii is known from Borneo Island, Sarawak, Lambir Hills National Park, about 0.5 km from road on trail to 52-hectare long-term forest dynamics research plot, 4u209N, 113u509E, in Malaysia (Desdarjin et. al., 2011)
Since 2011 until now there is no new records exist from any efforts or localities except other species of thailandica but found in 2010, collected from Thailand.
Only found in Sarawak in the dipterocarp-dominated forest of the Lambir Hills in Sarawak, Malaysia (Desjardin et al., 2011)
Timber license concessions alone cover a total of 6,542,852 hectares (nearly 16 million acres), over half (53 percent) of Sarawak’s total land area. The logging concessions are concentrated toward inland Borneo, on the border with Indonesian Kalimantan.
This species found in 2008 at Lambir Hills National Park, about 0.5 km from road on trail to 52-hectare long-term forest dynamics research plot. It is very limited reports, and understanding of this species, it’s tough to assess the trend. The greater part of natural habitat within its distribution Sarawak has been lost during the last 100 years; due to logging and oil palm plantation. The continued decline of natural habitat suggest that this species is deterioration.
Population Trend: Deteriorating
Solitary, epigeous on ground under undetermined dipterocarp trees, known only from the holotype locality in Lambir Hills National Park, northern Borneo, Malaysian state of Sarawak. Lambir is an a seasonal, tropical rainforest, receiving ca. 3000mm rainfall per year, with maximum and minimum
daily temperatures 32–24 °C (Lee et al. 2002). The forest at Lambir contains 1000 tree species but is dominated by the ECM family Dipterocarpaceae. Detailed descriptions of the neighboring plot are available in Lee et al. (2002) and Davies et al. (2005).
According to new maps of industrial logging, oil palm, and planted forest concessions complied and published by Global Forest Watch, these concessions cover over half the state of Sarawak, often overlapping with sensitive intact forests that are being exploited and degraded at one of the highest rates in the world (Petersen et.al., 2015). This situation is not only reduce the population of dipterocarp forest but also a natural habitat of Spongiforma squarepantsii in Borneo.
Lampir National Park need to protect of this rare species as well as dipterocarp forests in Borneo.
Study on they favorable habitat need to be investigated.
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