literally, "Brunei, Abode of Peace" - has some of the richest biological
assemblages in the world, where an amazing diversity of life form and species
continues to exist in rain forests that remain safe from destruction. This
great biodiversity is a result of the interplay of different factors: notably,
a long history of land formation and speciation within a climate conducive
to luxuriant plant growth, the intermingling of species from different
land masses since ancient periods, and the existence of a large range of
micro environments within the complex framework of the forest to which
different species may be adapted. Within this setting there is a paradise
of plants and creatures.
The richest ecosystem on earth, the rain forest teems with life. There is not just one form of rain forest, but many. In Brunei several types can be readily distinguished by the structural characters of the trees, but there are also differences in species composition, the terrain and substrate, and the altitude and local climatic regime where they occur. Within each form there may be special communities or associations of species, and often the apparent burst of complexity and disarray that first strikes the eye belies any patterns there may be. The rain forest is dynamic with changes in the growth and death of plants, and their distribution according to modes of dispersal and survival, and chance. Scientists are beginning to document the biodiversity of forests, a basic step in learning to better manage them for the numerous products and services they provide.
Trees are undoubtedly the main entity within the rain forest. Within the framework of trees, an explosion of other life occur - there are lianas, palms, shrubs, herbs and bamboo, as well as a bewildering variety of epiphytes, creepers, mosses and liveworths. Some have developed specialised modes of survival, as stranglers or simply drawing their nutrition from dead organic matter. Others, including both trees and ferns, form specialised relationship with ants. Pitcher plants abound in some habitats, their leaf tips expanded to form curious pitchers which are death-traps for many insects and home to some animals. The variety of life seems infinite, spurred on by a complex of physical and biological interactions. Plants and animals compete among themselves and with one another, as they adapt to their physical environments. With increasing specialisation a multitude of life forms comes into being.
Now, I'll introduce you to some of the wonders of Brunei.
name : Betta macrostoma
Local name : Ikan Pelaga Brunei
English name : Brunei Beauty
was thought that the Brunei Beauty, Betta macrostoma had been extinct since
50 years ago with the fast social and economic development. It was "rediscovered"
in 1981 in one of the waterfalls in Brunei Darussalam. This "rediscovery"
excites aquarium fish collectors and reserachers around the world.
The adult fish has a body length of about 10 cm. The male is more attrctive with variable colour patterns. The dorsal fin has an ocellus or an eye spot. The caudal fin is semi-curved with stripes of red and black. The main feature of the fish is the presence of a large mouth [ "macrostoma" means large mouth ].
The natural habitat of the fish includes rivers, waterfalls and swamps and other isolated water bodies. Although they have a fierce appearance, they are less aggressive than the Siamese fighting fish, Betta splendens. They are shy and like to hide underneath fallen branches, logs, leaves and rocks. In wild life, they feed in insects as well as leafy plants.
Historically, the mangrove was an important source of food, medicine, and construction materials for the residents of the water Village. Almost every mangrove plant species has a special local name. In contrast, few species have special common names in English and the scientific name is usually used to refer to mangrove plants. Listed below are some of the plants found in Brunei mangroves.
Acanthus ebracteatus [Acanthaceae]
bushes are larger and more baundant along the landward stretches of rivers
that flow through mangrove vegetation. In the old days, prickly Sea Holly
leaves were used to threaten children who cry too much or are naughty.
The leaves are also used to to ward off evil spirit and were placed in
bundles under the house where a woman has given birth and is in confinement.
Juices from the leaves were reputed to preserve the hair. The roots were
used in combination with other ingredients to make decoction for treating
shingles. The seeds were used to prepare a cough mixtures, in a poultice to treat boils, to deworm children.
Lumnizera littorea [Combretaceae]
Lumnizera is never abundant in mangrove vegation but it is unmistakeable because of its brilliant red flowers. Its wood is very had and durable and when available, the logs are suitable for bridges, pilings, flooring, tool handles. The wood is difficult to get in large pieces because large individuals are rare. It is most often seen as a small bushy tree in Brunei bay.
Nypa fruticans [Palmae]
is one of the most important plants in the traditional economy of the Water
Village. The large fronds provided durable materials for roofing or the
walls of a house. young leaves were used to package food or made into cigarette
papers. The straight and long stem of the fonds was used to make fishing
equipment. Salt was produced from the ashes of mature fronds. Sap from
the flowering stalk was boiled down into a sugary syrup (gula anau or gula
apong) The fruits are edible.
is marching on to become a great tourist attraction site, the wealth, diversity
and uniqueness of Brunei's flora and fauna plays an important role. Aside
from bringing valuable insights into the plant life of Borneo. Brunei's
rich and varied flora and fauna has the ability to attract tourists from
wide and far.