Botanists shed light on Borneo’s Saurauia

KOTA KINABALU: Little is known about the Saurauia of Borneo but a team of botanists from Sabah and Singapore spent time to document the flowering plant.

Their hard work has been compiled into a book that would regale readers with images and facts of the 85 Saurauia species that can be found in Borneo.

One of the key researchers, Tan Jiew Hoe, said 62 of them were newly discovered.

“Before this, we had no idea that the Saurauia could be so rich in species.

“We now realise that our biodiversity can be very rich. They are hiding in the rainforest,” he said at the book launch here on Wednesday.

The Saurauia is a genus of small to medium-sized trees found in tropical and subtropical forests from South and South-East Asia to the southwest Pacific, and in some parts of tropical and subtropical America.

There are an estimated 300 species of Saurauia worldwide.

Tan, who is Singapore Gardening Society president and Gardens By the Bay board director, said much remains unknown about Borneo’s flora and fauna.

“Any disturbance to the rainforest could be destructive as we may not know what was present in the first place,” he said.

He said additional knowledge like those presented in the book could also help assess the effectiveness of conservation areas.

“Not supporting such studies could contribute to persisting knowledge gaps and potential losses,” he said.

The Saurauia of Borneo is published by the Natural History Publications (Borneo).

Its managing director Datuk C.L. Chan commended the team for its efforts.

Source: The Star