Malaysia: Monday, 16 July 2018
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Mountain biodiversity
The world’s mountains encompass some of the most spectacular landscapes, a great diversity of species and habitat types, and distinctive human communities. Mountains occur on all continents, in all latitude zones, and within all the world’s principal biome types. Mountains provide freshwater for more than half of humanity, and are, in effect, the water towers of the world.

The montane and submontane forests of Malaysia differ according to elevation in their appearance, structure and floral and faunal composition. Forests below 1,200 metres elevation are composed primarily of lowland and hill dipterocarp forest. At approximately 1,200 to 1,500 metres elevation, lower montane forest gradually begins to replace hill dipterocarp forest. At around 1,800 metres elevation, lower montane forest gives way to upper montane forest and mossy forest. Subalpine vegetation can be found at around 2,900 metres and alpine vegetation, beyond the 3,500 metre mark. The major threat to montane flora and fauna is habitat destruction. The development of roads, resorts and hotels, golf courses, vegetable and flower gardens and telecommunications stations all impact the conservation of natural montane flora and fauna communities. By assigning an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) rating of 1 to all land areas above the elevation of 1000m, the National Physical Plan (NPP) is attempting to conserve highland biodiversity by managing development and habitat loss in submontane and montane ecosystems.

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