A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Borneo, 4th ed.

A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Borneo is an introductory photographic identification guide to 280 bird species commonly seen in on the island of Borneo (covering Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan), and is perfect for resident and visitor alike. High quality photographs from one of Borneo’s top nature photographers are accompanied by detailed species descriptions, which include nomenclature, size, distribution, habits and habitat. The user-friendly introduction covers geography and climate, vegetation, opportunities for naturalists and the main sites for viewing the listed species. Also included is an all-important checklist of all of the birds of Borneo encompassing, for each species, its common and scientific name, IUCN status and its status in each state of Borneo.

A Naturalist’s Guide to the Butterflies of Borneo

There are currently approximately 19,750 species of butterfly in the world, grouped into six families. Of these, Borneo is home to approximately 1,000 species, many of which are shared with continental Southeast Asia, but Borneo also has a significant number of endemic species of its own. For its size, Borneo is very rich in butterfly species.

The Dragon of Kinabalu and other Borneo stories

Dive into the fascinating world of Borneo with “The Dragon of Kinabalu and Other Borneo Stories” by Owen Rutter, a captivating collection of tales steeped in local culture, myths and landscape. This spellbinding anthology promises an adventure through the vivid sceneries of Borneo, an insight into its culture, and an uncharted experience in the realm of Asian literature.

A Preliminary Guide to Pyraloid Moths of Borneo: Part 2

The Preliminary Guide Part 2 is a comprehensive resource dedicated to the Family Crambidae of the Superfamily Pyraloidea, offering detailed information and around 940 images of about 838 taxa from global locations. This guide is an invaluable tool for understanding the biology, ecology, and distribution of these species, with insights from 751 recorded in Borneo, and a selection from Peninsular Malaysia and other regions.

A Taxonomic Guide to the Stick Insects of Java Vol. 1

The eighth volume in the taxonomic guide series on South-east Asian stick insects by the author, presents a detailed and visually engaging exploration of stick insects from Java, including new species and genera, contributing to the total of recognized species to 89. This guide, serving as a pivotal resource for conservationists, entomologists, and nature enthusiasts alike, extends our understanding of South-East Asian stick-insect fauna, fostering more accurate and effective conservation efforts and scientific studies.

The Endemic Plant Genera in Borneo

This account presents 62 vascular plant genera, comprising 162 species, currently known only from Borneo, with photographs and maps of their known and potential distributions. Borneo’s exceptionally high plant diversity is threatened by rapid land-use change, hence, assessing threats to species uniquely found there, and identifying areas where a significant proportion are harboured, are urgent tasks. Centres of endemism especially found in northwest Borneo are considered against remaining forest cover and protected areas to highlight plant conservation exigencies. The book is updated from the author’s research which was awarded the International Society for Plant Molecular Biology 2021–2022 Gold Medal for most outstanding doctoral thesis in plant science research at the National University of Singapore.

Malesian Orchid Journal Vol. 26

The Malesian Orchid Journal, an annual publication, will publish scientific and semi-popular articles on the taxonomy, ecology and conservation of the native orchids of the Malesian—the area formerly known as the East Indies. Malesia traditionally comprises the Philippines, Sundaland (Malay Peninsula, Greater Sunda Islands (Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Sulawesi), Lesser Sunda Islands (e.g. Bali, Lombok, Komodo, Sumbawa, Flores, Timor), and Papuasia (Maluku, New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago, but excluding Bougainville). Many of the world’s biodiversity hotspots are located in Malesia. The flora may be represented by as many as 30,000 flowering plants, including 6000 native orchid species in 200 genera. Approximately 3000 species are recorded from the island of New Guinea alone, while Mount Kinabalu on Borneo, an area of only about 1200 km2, has 850 taxa of orchids in 137 general.

Timonius in Borneo

This monograph details what is known about Timonius in Borneo, a group in the extremely hyper-diverse coffee family Rubiaceae, that no one has studied since some scattered initial documentation in the past few centuries. Now, all Bornean territories are much more explored, botanically collected from, and ‘developed’. Still, very few studies have been made in Southeast Asia for complex and highly diverse plant groups which can illuminate our understanding of plant diversity and classification, and contribute to a more accurate assessment of plant lineage development and evolution. This is a first step, of many such first steps that will be needed, in addressing the incredible plant richness of the Malay Archipelago, a recognised region of spectacular biological richness.

This account documents 94 species of Timonius, a genus of mostly treelets to small trees still poorly understood throughout Southeast Asia, of which 68 species are newly recognised. Some 96% of the genus is endemic to Borneo, not known beyond this large, physiographically and geologically diverse tropical island, a centrepiece in the biogeography of a vast, biologically diverse region of our globe. The book includes discussions on the morphology, biology and reproductive ecology of Timonius and related plants, and is illustrated by 294 figures and 58 botanical line-drawings.

A Guide to Wild Fruits of Borneo (2nd Edition)

‘A Guide to Wild Fruits of Borneo’ by Anthony Lamb is an engaging exploration of over 500 species of edible fruits, nuts, and seeds native to Borneo, showcasing their incredible biodiversity. The guide encourages sustainable development and germplasm conservation while offering detailed insights into the island’s rich flora, making it a must-have for botanists, nature enthusiasts, and fruit lovers.

A Guide to Market Fruits of Borneo

This guide covers the edible fruits and nuts found in markets, tamus and roadside stalls in Borneo, that are now both cultivated, or collected from their forest habitats. It does not cover the many imported fruits, that are also sold, though many of these are also now cultivated in the Borneo States.

These cultivated species are found in back-yards in towns and villages, in small orchards on small to large farms, to those planted in and around the villages.

In rural communities, many of the wild species in the surrounding lands or forests, that are in known localities are protected from being felled by the local community, and the fruits when harvested are shared or sold in the markets.

Even in protected forests, nuts such as the chestnuts (berangan) in hill forest, are also collected for sale in local markets or consumed, and only recently is their commercial potential being realised, and they are being brought into cultivation.

In the past, sadly, when wild fruits which were sweet and juicy were found in the forest, the trees were felled for ease of harvesting, such as wild rambutans and pulasans, which has meant that a lot of promising germplasm was lost, and mainly trees with sour fruits is what is left.

Also, with all the recent development of commercial crops such as oil palm, over the last five decades, vast areas of lowland forests have been cleared, and the diversity of fruits subsequently reduced. This is of particular importance since Borneo has been found to be a centre of diversity for a whole range of edible fruits and nuts such as durians, mangoes, mangosteens, rambutans, tampoi (Baccaurea), chestnuts, figs and Xanthophyllum. This diversity gives the potential for breeding and selection of new varieties.

The Governments of the different States in Borneo have now realised that there is this potential, and are now supporting efforts, including joint ventures in providing areas for expanding fruit cultivation to funding, as well as providing marketing and processing facilities for both smallholders and private enterprises, as they realize the vast potential in the export fruits.

The cultivators of fruits and nuts have also set up growers’ associations to pass on information on cultivation. In addition, the Agricultural Departments have now put in efforts to select better clones and varieties that have potential in both the local and export markets. Also, Agricultural Departments have expanded services and training for local farmers. With its vast diversity of fruits and nuts found, Borneo deserves to be known as ‘The Island of Fruits’.

A Greenhorn Naturalist in Borneo

A Greenhorn Naturalist in Borneo is about natural history, travel in the tropics, life sciences, and adventure, with the environment always in mind. It chronicles the nine years the author spent with his family on that equatorial island. The book’s humorous style never detracts from the focus on the science, the island of Borneo and its natural wonders.

The story begins in 2007 on top of a garage in Taiwan, where the author kept a greenhouse filled with hundreds of carnivorous tropical pitcher plants. In August of the same year, he attended a conference on these plants in Borneo and met them in the wild for the first time. This triggered an obsession with the island’s legendary rainforest fauna and flora, and he decided to move to Borneo with his family for easier access to the jungle. In a tone reminiscent of Bill Bryson, Douglas Adams, and Gerald Durrell – funny, self-deprecating, but always satisfying for the science-minded reader – A Greenhorn Naturalist in Borneo documents the Breuer family’s adventures with Borneo’s enormous biodiversity: flying snakes, venomous primates, parachuting frogs, pangolins, king cobras, orangutans, masters of mimicry and camouflage, the world’s rarest lizard and the world’s longest snake.

And these are just a fraction of the life forms the reader will meet. Adventure lurks behind every trail bend: toddler-sized monkeys terrorize night hikers, bearded jungle pigs hunt stray dogs, a giant python almost gets stepped on, and other encounters of the ‘not so funny when it happened’ kind. The reader will also meet the people inhabiting the island, such as Asia’s last rainforest nomads, quaint government officials, and former headhunting tribes that still proudly display their trophies above their fireplaces. Inevitably, the author’s life in Borneo also led to first-hand insight into the island’s environmental tragedy caused by decades of severe over-exploitation, a recurring topic throughout the book.

A Greenhorn Naturalist in Borneo puts the reader in a front-row seat to marvel at nature’s wonders in all their magnificence visiting places unknown and creatures unheard of; and it is also an invitation to consider the state of the planet, to take it seriously, and to act before it’s too late.

Impatiens of Thailand

Dr Piyakaset Suksathan and Dr Saroj Ruchisansakun present, in this book on the balsams of Thailand, their revision of the genus Impatiens (Balsaminaceae), a technically competent yet well-illustrated and engaging account of a plant group with very many elegant and exquisite species. For plant-lovers, especially, this comes some 130 years following the description of the first Thai species, Impatiens mirabilis Hook.f., in 1891. Since then, there have been many discoveries, including new records and new species, detailed in this book. The research has spanned over a decade, covering an incredibly attractive and interesting array of species spanning the longitudinally and latitudinally diverse inclusion of Thailand, ranging from subtropical mountains to the wet tropical lowland rainforest regions. Balsams have an impressive taxonomic diversity, their basic floral structure already elaborate, represented by an incredibly large variation in form and structure, amply displayed in this iconic taxonomic account. This beautiful book details 91 taxa including 20 new species and a new variety, with 43 species only known from Thailand. It is a gem not only for botanists and specialists, but also amateurs and plant lovers everywhere.

Helm Wildlife Guides: Birds of Borneo

The world’s third largest island, divided between three countries – Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei – Borneo is home to some of the oldest rainforests in the world, estimated to be 140 millions years old, and an avifauna of around 600 recorded bird species. It is a haven for birdwatchers and a frontrunning biodiversity hotspot. A … Continue reading Helm Wildlife Guides: Birds of Borneo

A Field Guide to Tawau Hills Park

Tawau Hills Park (THP) is a quiet and relatively undiscovered wonder of nature in southeast Sabah. It is located in the district of Tawau and can be reached by car in an hour from the nearest airport. Gazetted in 1979 under the administration of Sabah Parks, the park contains primary rainforest that is protected from the palm oil plantations that immediately surround it. The approach by car involves a drive along roads surrounded by these plantations until you arrive at the park’s main entrance where the desert of plantations ends and the incredible view of tall dipterocarp trees begins.

Locals can enjoy the park’s facilities near the main entrance for recreational walks and BBQs and, at weekends, the area close to the park’s headquarters may be teeming with people enjoying themselves. Yet most people do not explore further into the park’s rainforest, staying near the main rivers, although if they did they would realise that THP is a naturalist’s dream. The park has three sub-stations, Balung, Merotai and Andrassy and has developed a good network of trails that enable extensive exploration of its forests, from the former ‘Tallest Tree Trail’, which is 900 m long, to the main trail leading both to the Gelas waterfall at 2.4 km and to the sulphur spring which is at 3.2 km. At its headquarters, the park offers rented accommodation of 10 basic rooms and a chalet, as well as a beautiful camping ground. For the bird watcher, there is also a bird-watching tower located not far from the Table waterfall which is just a few hundred metres away from the recreational ground.

The Hairy Rhinoceros: History, ecology and some lessons for management of the last Asian megafauna

Species do not suddenly go extinct. Behind every extinction is a long history. Until a century ago, human actions were only a part of that history. Now, preventing extinctions depends entirely on human interventions. The days of small groups of dedicated people taking actions to try to prevent extinctions ended in the 1960s. The management unit that addresses endangered wildlife now is the nation state. Governments make the wildlife policy decisions. But governments are influenced by nongovernmental advisers and public opinion.

Five concepts in population biology show that leaving Hairy rhinos in the wild was never going to be successful in preventing the species extinction: the species-area curve, sufficiency of habitat in protected areas, extinction debt, the Allee effect and ecological tipping points. On top of that, a quintet of human cognitive biases mean that no decisions and wrong decisions are made repeatedly: shifting baseline, risk aversion, us-and-them, fashions and opinions.

Like many other endangered large mammal species, the Hairy rhinoceros is drifting to extinction not primarily because of ongoing and future habitat loss or poaching. Those impacts started hundreds and thousands of years ago, and were the issues of immediate concern in the twentieth century. The issue to address now is paralysis in making the best decisions on what exactly to do about the remaining and mostly non-viable clusters.

Interventions necessary for recovery might include treating all surviving members of a species as a single metapopulation, ensuring that remnant clusters have sufficient quality habitat to sustain viable numbers, putting in place measures to ensure that all fertile females achieve high birth rates, ensuring that every remaining individual contributes its genes to future generations, and addressing inbreeding risks. Such interventions have been too little, too late or, more commonly, are non-existent.

The story of the Hairy rhino, told here from a Malaysian perspective, can help to inform governments on how to prevent further megafauna extinctions, through targeted interventions for population recovery.

A Taxonomic Guide to the Stick Insects of Peninsular Malaysia Vol. 1

This volume is the seventh in a series of Taxonomic Guides to the Stick Insects of South East Asia and the tenth book on stick insects by the author. It is the third book by the author on the stick insects of Peninsular Malaysia. The present book is different from the authors first two books on Peninsular Malaysian stick insects. This present book follows the concept of the first six volumes by the author in this series: which are A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Borneo (2016), A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Borneo Volume II (2017), A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Singapore (2017), A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Sumatra Volume I (2018), A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Borneo Volume III (2019) and A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Sumatra Volume II (2020). This seventh volume is once again lavishly illustrated with beautiful colour photographs of the various species of stick insects being discussed in the book. This book enables anyone with any interest in stick insects to be able to identify any stick insect one may come across in Peninsular Malaysia. This is possible by the use of the carefully constructed keys or with the help of the numerous colour photographs of all described species of Peninsular Malaysian stick insects.

This latest volume, A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Peninsular Malaysia Vol 1 (2021) lists 14 new species, two new genera, ten lectotype designations, one neotype designation, seven new specific synonyms, eight revised statuses, three new combination names as well as the description of the unknown sex of five species. The number of recognized species in Peninsular Malaysia stands at 136.

This latest publication on the phasmid fauna of Peninsular Malaysia, extends our knowledge of the stick insects of the whole of South East Asia. It will enable conservationists, entomologists and amateur enthusiasts world-wide to better identify, understand and study these insects. Efforts to plan for their conservation as well as for the preservation of their habitats will therefore be achieved in a more scientific way.

Malesian Orchid Journal Vol. 25

The Malesian Orchid Journal, an annual publication, will publish scientific and semi-popular articles on the taxonomy, ecology and conservation of the native orchids of the Malesian—the area formerly known as the East Indies. Malesia traditionally comprises the Philippines, Sundaland (Malay Peninsula, Greater Sunda Islands (Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Sulawesi), Lesser Sunda Islands (e.g. Bali, Lombok, Komodo, Sumbawa, Flores, Timor), and Papuasia (Maluku, New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago, but excluding Bougainville). Many of the world’s biodiversity hotspots are located in Malesia. The flora may be represented by as many as 30,000 flowering plants, including 6000 native orchid species in 200 genera. Approximately 3000 species are recorded from the island of New Guinea alone, while Mount Kinabalu on Borneo, an area of only about 1200 km2, has 850 taxa of orchids in 137 general.

Pelagus National Park

Pelagus, located along the middle reaches of the Rajang River, in central Sarawak, was gazetted as a National Park in the year 2009. It covers an area of circa 2,041 hectares of pristine and old secondary forests, the latter being reminders of logging activities from the early 1960s. Here, at the heart of Sarawak’s Iban country, visitors can spend a leisurely day or two, walking on some of the nature trails, while on the lookout for birds, frogs and mammals, and enjoying calls of gibbons and hornbills.

Remains of a former luxury resort lend a curious twist to the place, the abandoned structure overlooking the mighty rapids and witness to numerous tragedies involving boats crashing on the rapids. Legends from nearby longhouses say these rocks were formed by a mythological being killed by an Iban warrior, and local communities continue to make offerings to the Rapids to this day.

The current work presents results from a joint Universiti Malaysia Sarawak and Sarawak Energy Berhad project, bringing to the general public information on key groups of plants and animals of the Pelagus region. The goal is to provide information of our natural heritage to stakeholders, management authorities, naturalists, researchers and the general public.

Morning Glories of Thailand and Southeast Asia

Every Thai person, and a great many visitors to Thailand, knows what phak bung (ผักบุ้ง) is. This plant, ubiquitous throughout the Kingdom, is a kind of morning glory and as such phak bung is a worthy ambassador to introduce a large assortment of beautiful and interesting plants. Species classified as members of the Convolvulaceae are found all over the world in tropical and warm temperate climates including every ecosystem and habitat from temperate fields and meadows to ever-wet tropical forests, ocean beaches, dry deserts and high steppes. There are almost 2,000 species known. Thailand has a rich diversity of Convolvulaceae in its flora: there are 147 species documented within the Kingdom’s borders and new species are discovered every year. Some Thai species, like phak bung, are very abundant where people live; others are quite rare and found only in pristine natural areas. All of them are fascinating, many are beautiful, and each has a unique place in the natural world around us. Their stories are told here.

This book combines knowledge about Convolvulaceae from three people who specialize in botany and horticulture. These authors introduce you to the Convolvulaceae world-wide, as garden ornamentals, as food plants, in the unique cultural environment of Japan, and finally through a selection of the morning glories of Thailand. Many of the same species found in Thailand grow throughout Southeast Asia and this book is also a field guide to morning glories throughout the region.

Beautifully illustrated with colour photographs throughout there are also illustrations for horticultural practices and propagation techniques that were specially prepared for this book. In total all 27 genera of Thai Convolvulaceae are included and 80 selected species, including several of the rarest and some of the most beautiful among them

Vampire Moths: Behaviour, Ecology and Taxonomy of Blood-sucking Calyptra

The book is introduced with the author’s scientific odyssey in the quest for the secretive vampire moths, initiated more than half a century ago in Southeast Asia and nearby regions. The main part of the book presents a synthesis of three decades of research based mainly on his nocturnal field investigations in or near forest habitats. What would appear as perverted feeding habits in insects generally thought as gentle flower visitors are exposed as sophisticated adaptations developed in a select group of less than ten of the 180 000 known species of Lepidoptera. Calyptra’s unique skin-piercing blood-sucking methods are detailed in photographs and diagrams. The moths’ victims range from elephants and rhinoceroses, to tapirs, horses, cattle, deer and pig, and occasionally humans. Other aspects treated include distribution, behaviour, ecology, phenology, and physiology. An identification key facilitates recognition of all Calyptra species (not all are blood suckers), enhanced by illustrations and descriptions of moth adults, their caterpillars and host plants. The moths’ veterinary-medical implications are discussed in the light of their being among the largest of all blood-sucking insects, combined with their unorthodox mode to bleed their quarry. The book is rounded off reviewing the most probable scenarios of the moths’ evolutionary pathway into blood suckers, and added with a comprehensive list of the subject’s literature.