Borneo and Sumatra Threats

Written by on July 4, 2012 in Sumatra Environment with 0 Comments

Borneo and Sumatra Threats


Forests The forests of Borneo and Sumatra are under threat from both legal and illegal logging. Indonesia’s status as the world’s number-one supplier of plywood puts the forests of Borneo and Sumatra under extreme pressure. The region is also a major source of hardwoods and wood products for the pulp and paper industry. The rate of deforestation in Indonesia is among the worst globally, with a staggering 80 percent of the nation’s wood supplies thought to come from illegal sources, including nature reserves and other protected areas. It is estimated that 85 percent of Sumatra’s forests have been destroyed by commercial logging and conversion to agriculture. Deforestation The pace of deforestation in Sumatra. © Flora and Fauna International, 2001. Borneo is facing a similar fate. According to a World Bank study, unless urgent action is taken, all of Borneo’s lowland forests outside of protected areas are doomed to disappear by 2010, and its upland forests by 2020. The green area represents Borneo’s forests in 2000 (left), and projections of forests loss in 2010 (center) and 2020 (right). © WWF Logs © WWF-Canon/Alain Compost Agriculture Expanding oil palm plantations are pushing out tropical forest and plans to grow palm trees are also used as a pretext for lumber extraction. Conversion of forests into palm oil plantations has been shown to result in the loss of 80-100 percent of the mammal, reptile and bird species in the area. Palm oil is used in a dizzying array of products including chocolates, ice cream, lipstick and detergents, and world demand is on the rise. Ironically, palm oil makes an excellent bio-fuel but unless sustainable production can be achieved, increasing use of this “clean” fuel may spell disaster for the forests of Borneo and Sumatra. Sumatra is also home to some of the richest Robusta coffee on Earth and its cultivation is encroaching on landscapes crucial to species conservation, including lands within the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. WWF tracked illegal cultivation of Robusta coffee inside Indonesia’s Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. Read our coffee report. Traffic © TRAFFIC SE Asia / Chris R. Shepherd Wildlife trade Rampant poaching, facilitated by the growing number of roads and logging trails, poses a grave threat to Borneo and Sumatra’s endangered species. Tigers are hunted for their skins, teeth and for use in traditional medicines. Rhinos are killed for their horns, which are also used in traditional Chinese medicine. Orangutans are stolen from the wild for the entertainment and tourism trade. Baby orangutans are popular pets and their mothers are often shot during their capture. International finance The vast wealth of natural resources found on Borneo and Sumatra has attracted large-scale international financing focused on extractive resources industries, from precious hardwoods and minerals to palm oil, rubber, natural gas and petroleum. The pressure to feed growing global demand and the huge capacity of mills and other operations funded by international investors has led to unsustainable logging, massive forest conversion and other practices that imperil the islands’ ecological integrity. WWF is identifying the most influential public and private financial institutions that drive the extractive industries and working with them to realize business opportunities that are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. Fire © WWF-Canon / Tantyo Bangun Climate change With just over three percent of the world’s forests, Indonesia accounts for more than 14 percent of global deforestation. This represents almost half of the total global carbon emissions from deforestation and land degradation — almost twice as much as Brazil (the second-largest producer of greenhouse gases from land conversion), and more than three times Malaysia (the third largest). total carbon emissions — behind the U.S., the European Union and China, and ahead of Brazil. Deforestation and forest degradation account for more than 83 percent of Indonesia’s carbon emissions.




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