Conservation in modern times is a misused term that trial lawyers often invoke to win lawsuits against companies before progress can commence but Brunei on the island of Borneo, which is about the size of the state of Delaware, has a great reason for all countries of the world to preserve it. 

The current landscape is similar to what was present during the Pliocene Epoch, 5.3 to 2.6 million years ago.

A new study finds that the dipterocarps tree group has ruled those rainforests for at least four million years. The dipterocarps are the world’s tallest tropical trees, and the largest of them can reach over 320 feet in height, approximately the height of a 22-story building. Borneo has almost 270 dipterocarp species, more than half the world’s total.

All shown are from Kampong Lugu. (A) UBDH F00332, relatively complete specimen preserving overall leaf form and venation; (B) UBDH F00151, preserving upper petiole, base, strong longitudinal folding along midvein, and general venation; (C) UBDH F00292, preserving upper petiole, intramarginal vein emerging near the base, and longitudinal folding; (D) UBDH F00183 (also G), preserving part of a broad-acuminate apex and showing bright patches of well-preserved venation where the coalified surface has flaked off; (E) UBDH F00192a, leaf portion with well-preserved venation, including intersecondary veins, rectangular tertiary-vein fields, and intramarginal vein running very close to the margin; (F) UBDH F00323, leaf portion with preservation similar to E; (G) Detail of venation exposed along the midvein in D, showing sediment pushing through the rectangular tertiary-vein fields.

They promote biodiversity in rainforests with food through pollination and seeds but that doesn't always help people living nearby, who might like to enjoy a standard of living rich elites have, but responsible conservation has an answer for that too; eco-tourism. Rich people will pay for experiences few others can afford, like traveling to low earth orbit or owning the Washington Post.

The trees are prized for their wood and all rich countries require a chain of custody to prove the lumber was taken responsibly but just like government funding is a leaky bucket and a giant amount of money will be lost to corruption and favoritism, what western nations require makes no difference to a country like China, and lumber can be a leaky bucket there. So a way to get them some protection without making people suffer is needed.

Borneo has more than half of its old growth rainforests. That has value beyond just blocking progress or academically removed pleas for conservation. An awareness campaign about how tourists can 'look back in time' would be far more valuable than its use as building materals.