The Google Earth satellite images collected and published by portal Mongabay.com shows that the forests in Sarawak is much more sparse compared to that in neighbouring Kalimantan, Indonesia and Brunei.
According to the website, which has also been cited by Yale University publication environment360 on the same topic, the images were sourced from GeoEye, TerraMetrics, Tele Atlas, Europa Technologies and other satellite programs.
“(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.
Taib's government has off late sustained heated attacks from advocacy groups, which claim that satellite images show that only about 10 percent of the virgin rain forests are still intact.
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 is open to accept international inspection.
This was, however, met with doubts by BMF, which was quoted by Mongabay 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 fifteen top green websites in its April 2008 edition.
seals: And still no MACC visiting the office ...but only the PM and DPM visiting.... uh!