“(The images) show logging roads snaking across Sarawak's forest areas. Forests across international borders are substantially less impacted,” it reported. When accessed by Malaysiakini, the publicly available Google Earth application corresponds with Mongabay's assertions.
Only 10 percent of virgin rainforests remain
Taib's government has of late been the target of heated attacks from advocacy groups, which claim that satellite images show that only about 10 percent of Sarawak's virgin rainforests remain. These groups include the Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), which was founded in the memory of environmentalist Bruno Manser, one of the Sarawak government's most vocal critics until he mysteriously disappeared in 2000. In insisting that 70 percent of the forests have not been touched, Taib told the Borneo Post that his government was open to international inspection. This was, however, met with doubts by BMF, which was quoted byMongabay as saying that Taib has consistently refused inspection from the International Tropical Timber Organisation since 1991. Mongabay was founded by mathematician-economist Rhett A Butler, who turned environmentalist after a first-hand experience of a forest razing in Sabah.
The website receives about 1 million hits a month and was named one of Time Magazine's 15 top green websites in its April 2008 edition.