|Kottelat, M. and T. Whitten, 1996
|The single current book on the freshwater fishes of western Malaysia is in need of update. It lists only about half of the reported 600 species (Ref. 12217). Rainforest covers about 50 per cent of Malaysia and supports thousands of plant and animal species. The current logging rate is too high and cannot be maintained, and it has resulted in massive destruction of upland forests, which is in turn causing erosion, siltation, loss of soil, loss of wildlife, flooding, and degradation of the watershed. Inshore and offshore fish resources are being overfished. Urbanization and industrialization have also caused problems with solid-waste management and water pollution. Many of the country’s coastal waters and rivers are affected. The government of Malaysia has given due recognition to some of these problems through various means, including the Environmental Quality Act, but the country needs resources to implement the legislation. The Fisheries Act of 1985 includes the creation of marine parks and reserves. In Sabah, a management plan for the utilization and conservation of the coastal zone is being developed with the assistance of the DANCED project.
|Geography and Climate
The peninsular portion of Malaysia has mountain ranges in the north, flanked by wide plains along both coasts. In the south, the peninsula is relatively level. The eastern portion of Malaysia is composed of Sarawak and Sabah on the island of Borneo. It consists of a swampy lowland along the coast rising to high mountains in the interior, especially in the east. Sabah has extensive lowlands covering the eastern part. The Crocker Range in the northwest rises to an elevation of 4,101 meters on Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Malaysia.
Except in the highlands, Malaysia is hot and humid throughout the year. Average daily temperatures vary from about 21° to 32°C. The exposed northern slopes of Sarawak and Sabah receive as much as 5,080 millimeters of rainfall yearly. Average rainfall for the peninsula is about 2,540 millimeters.
Ref. Microsoft, 1996
Major rivers include the Sungai Pahang in West Malaysia and the Batang Rajang and Kinabatangan in East Malaysia. Freshwater sites of exceptional biodiversity interest because of their endemic species are the North Selangor swamp forest, the Southeast Pahang swamp forest, the Sedili Kecil swamp forest, the Third Division and the Sibu swamp forest.
Ref. Kottelat, M. and T. Whitten, 1996