Orchids are members of the Orchidaceae, the largest family among flowering plants, which includes 25,000 species from 850 genera. It is estimated that 2500 to 3000 orchid species grow in the forests of Borneo (Irawati, 2002).
In their natural habitats, most orchids live as epiphytes in the forest trees. Increasing forest exploitation, either legally or illegally, and excessive logging have caused damage to the forests of West Borneo. Gold mining, wild forest fires, and illegal burning to establish a new agriculture land occur often and are some of the reasons orchids are becoming extinct. There are also economic factors contributing to the endangerment of Borneo's orchids such as illegal collecting and selling of wild orchids by collectors (orchid lovers) and the increasing demand for orchids by neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. These conditions point to the urgency of the need to conserve native orchids in West Borneo.
Conservancy efforts should be conducted in accordance with the following Indonesian legislations: UU No. 5 ratified in 1990, The Conservation of Biological Natural Resources and Its Ecosystem (Indonesian Ministry of the Environment, 1990); UU No. 5 ratified in 1994, The Conservation of Biological Diversity (Indonesian Ministry of the Environment, 1994); and PP No. 7 ratified in 1999, The Conservation of Flora and fauna (Indonesian Ministry of the Environment, 1999).
According to Global Forest Watch (2002), Indonesia is one of the countries experiencing the most drastic loss of forestland in the world. It was estimated in 1996 that ≈1 million ha of Indonesian forestland was being destroyed every year, including ≈1.7 million ha every year during the 1990s such that it was estimated that the forests in Borneo will have completely vanished by 2010. It is as a result of these figures that the author tries to promote conservation efforts, which include conserving native orchids by ex situ processes and making an inventory and identifying native orchids in West Borneo in accordance with the legislation mentioned previously.
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