Environmental problems in Indonesia

© WWF-Canon / Mark EDWARDS

Getting to the roots of the problems On the surface, Indonesia’s environmental problems – deforestation, wildlife trade, pollution, overfishing etc – and vanishing natural resources appear to be issues of poverty, population pressure and poor governance. In reality, the situation is more complex. Across the world, a growing appetite for Indonesia’s fish, oil palm, timber, wood pulp, gold, oil and gas resources are pressing the country to keep on exporting its natural heritage in the form of oils, logs, fish fillets and photocopy paper.

The problem is that a lot of these activities are taking place illegally and/or are carried out in an unsustainable way.

So what environmental problems is Indonesia facing?

During 2000 and 2005, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that Indonesia lost a massive 1,87 million ha of forest every year.1 That’s 9,36 million ha over a 5-year period – an area the size of Portugal.

When a forest area of that size is lost, this carries a range of serious impacts, including (among many other):

Other species are at risk because they are traded for traditional medicines (e. Another cause of Indonesia’s massive rate of deforestation is global demand for timber.   habitat loss for endangered species such as the Sumatran rhino and orangutans loss of livelihoods for forest people who are robbed of their timber resources and loss of revenue for local and central governments. Palm oil is now considered a major source of income for Indonesia and for more than 3.4 while the naturally rare and endangered humphead wrasse is illegally exported to high-end restaurants as a prized delicacy. tiger bone and rhinoceros horn) or for decorative objects (e. where human resources and funding are inadequate to monitor the wildlife trade and enforce existing protection laws. scales from hawksbill turtles). Approximately 80% of timber production in Indonesia is considered to stem from illegal logging. Species that are already endangered because of habitat loss and degradation are especially at risk. .5 million people working in this sub-sector. Unsustainable and illegal wildlife trade Wildlife over-exploitation is severe in Indonesia. An estimated 1. and the resulting clearance of forests for plantations. Where plantations are created in areas of high conservation value forests (HCVF). But this expansion comes at a heavy price. What explains Indonesia's phenomenal rate of forest loss? One cause is global demand for wood pulp and palm oil. this has led to the complete loss of forest ecological functions and socioeconomic benefits for local people.g.000 orangutans may have been imported into Taiwan for the pet trade between 1985 and 1990.g.

org/who_we_are/wwf_offices/indonesia/environmental_problems_indonesia/.panda. Ambon and Ujung Pandang. pushing fish populations ever closer to the brink of depletion. of Indonesia's capture fisheries are fully or overexploited. In the Arafura Sea. April 20. 2012. Adding to this problem are efforts to increase the catch of Indonesia's fisheries. eastern Indonesia.© WWF-Canon / WWF-Hong Kong / Cindy Cheng Over-exploitation of marine resources and destructive fishing Most. Source: http://wwf. such as air pollution. particularly around major population centres results in large amounts of sewage and industrial pollution. . but also affected the vast number of marine species that depend on them. about 10:1. There are also environmental problems linked to rapid urbanization and economic development. causing the decline of many reef areas especially those near growing cities such as Jakarta. Rapid economic development. 02:20 am. Destructive fishing such as cyanide and blast fishing on coral reefs has degraded not only the ecosystems. placing huge demands on the country’s coastal environment. Bad fisheries practices further increase the problem. in general. Pollution About 96% of Indonesians live within 100 km of the coast. The ratio of by-catch to shrimp caught in tropical waters is roughly estimated being. garbage management. if not all. bottom trawling for shrimp is strip-mining the ocean floor. traffic congestion. and reliable water and waste water services.

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