Sundaland is a biogeographical region of Southeastern Asia that comprises the Malay Peninsula and Maritime Southeast Asia islands of
Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and
surrounding smaller islands.
The eastern boundary of
Sundaland is the Wallace Line
identified by Alfred Russel
, which marks the eastern boundary of the Asia
's land mammal
fauna, and is
the boundary of the Indomalaya
islands east of the Wallace line are known as Wallacea
, and are considered part of
Some scholars like Oppenheimer locate the origin of the Austronesian languages
and its upper regions.
Genetic research reported in 2008 indicates that the islands which
are the remnants of Sundaland were likely populated as early as
50,000 years ago, contrary to a previous hypothesis that they were
populated as late as 10,000 years ago from Taiwan.
Sea and adjoining landmasses had been investigated by
scientists such as Molengraaff and Umbgrove who had
postulated ancient now submerged drainage systems.
have been mapped by Tjia in 1980 and described in greater detail by
Emmel and Curray in 1982 complete with river
The ecology of the exposed sunda shelf has been investigated
analyzing cores drilled into the ocean bed. The pollen found in the
cores have revealed a complex ecosystem that changed over time. The
flooding of Sundaland separated species that had once shared the
same environment such as the river threadfin
(Polydactylus macrophthalmus, Bleeker
1858) that had once thrived in a river system now called "North
Sunda River" or "Molengraaff river". Now the fish is known
from the Kapuas River on Borneo and the
Musi and Batanghari rivers on Sumatra in Indonesia.
The islands of Sundaland rest on an extension of Asia's shallow
. During the ice ages
, sea levels were lower and all of Sundaland
was an extension of the Asian continent. As a result, the islands
of Sundaland are home to many Asian mammals, including monkeys
, and rhinoceros
. The Wallace Line,
which includes the Lombok
Strait between Bali and Lombok, and the
Strait between Borneo and Sulawesi, marks the
end of the Asian continental shelf, and the islands of Wallacea are
separated from Asia and from Australia and
Guinea by deep ocean.
often include Sundaland, the adjacent Philippines, Wallacea and New Guinea in a single Floristic
province of Malesia, based on
similarities in their flora, which is predominantly of Asian
Ecoregions of Sundaland
subtropical moist broadleaf forests
subtropical coniferous forests
Montane grasslands and
Notes and references
- Oppenheimer 1999
- New research forces U-turn in population migration
- The physical geography of Southeast Asia by Avijit
Gupta, 2005, ISBN 0-19-924802-8 , page 403
- Till Hanebuth, Karl Stattegger and Pieter M. Grootes, "Rapid Flooding of the Sunda Shelf: A Late-Glacial
Sea-Level Record", Science 288 12 May
- Distributation of the River Threadfin
Selected faunal references in Borneo
- Abdullah MT. 2003. Biogeography and variation of Cynopterus
brachyotis in Southeast Asia. PhD thesis. The University of
Queensland, St Lucia, Australia.
- Corbet, GB, Hill JE. 1992. The mammals of the Indomalayan
region: a systematic review. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Hall LS, Gordon G. Grigg, Craig Moritz, Besar Ketol, Isa Sait,
Wahab Marni, Abdullah MT. 2004. Biogeography of fruit bats in
Southeast Asia. Sarawak Museum Journal LX(81):191-284.
- Karim, C., A.A. Tuen, Abdullah MT. 2004. Mammals. Sarawak
Museum Journal Special Issue No. 6. 80: 221—234.
- Mohd. Azlan J., Ibnu Maryanto, Agus P. Kartono, Abdullah MT.
2003 Diversity, Relative Abundance and Conservation of Chiropterans
in Kayan Mentarang National Park, East Kalimantan, Indonesia.
Sarawak Museum Journal 79: 251-265.
- Hall LS, Richards GC, Abdullah MT. 2002. The bats of Niah
National Park, Sarawak. Sarawak Museum Journal. 78: 255-282.
- Wilson DE, Reeder DM. 2005. Mammal species of the world.
Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC.