Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Map of Study Area

  • General Map of Indonesia (5 Islands)Map of Major Indonesia Islands
5 Islands of Indonesia. N.d. Photograph. USDAWeb. 27 Nov 2013. <>.

  • Specific Map of Indonesian Rainforests

  • indonesia_map_large_2

    RAINFOREST LOCATIONS MAP. N.d. Photograph. Indonesian Rainforest FoundationWeb. 27 Nov 2013. <>.

    Historical State of the Ecosystem

    Historically, Indonesia has been one of the world’s largest archipelagos, consisting of over 18,000 islands between the Pacific and Indian Ocean, and is home to the largest expanse of Rainforests in all of Asia.
    The Indonesian Rainforests hold the most crucial ecological stands of tropical rainforest in the world. Their extremely rich biodiversity in the world and keeping of affluent amount of carbon out of our atmosphere contribute to our environment significantly.

    1. Biodiversity

    The forests have 10% of the world's mammal species, 16% of bird species, and 11% of all plant species. In addition, the forests hold over 3,000 different types of timber. Moreover, their endemism level of 40 demonstrates the ecosystem contains unique plants/animal species.
    Indonesian Rainforest is a home for animals such as orangutans, tigers, elephants, and rhinos.

    2. Carbon Storage

    Indonesian Rainforests have a large carbon-storage capacity. Particularly, the peat in the region acts like a "carbon sponge" in addition to the trees.

    [1] Elephants in Indonesian Rainforests

    Photograph. Canopy: Transforming Business for our planet Web. 27 Nov 2013. <>.

    [2] Orangutan in Indonesian Rainforests
    Poachers were killing proboscis monkeys along the river en route to Camp Leakey until OFI began patrolling the area.

    Irvine, Georganne. Orangutans in Indonesian rainforests. N.d. Photograph. Orangutan Foundation International Web. 27 Nov 2013.


    [3] Peatlands
    A hut in Riau, Indonesia, where palm oil plantations are a major cause of deforestation.

    Zamroni, Ahmad. Peatland in Indonesia. N.d. Photograph. The GurdianWeb. 27 Nov 2013. <>.

    Benefits from the Rainforests

    Indonesian Rainforests are major suppliers of:
     -Palm Oil
    Source: Climate-Connections
    - As the largest producer of palm oil in the world, these plantations span over 31,640 square kilometers on the Indonesian islands. Since year 2000, the sizes of these factories have tripled in size. (3)
    -Indonesia alone provides an estimated amount of 45 million tons of palm oil and an average of 18 million annually. (3)
    -Palm oil is only the second most profitable export for Indonesia, with rice paddy reigning first.
    -Agriculture is one of the leading forces for employment, providing for over 41% of all employment in Indonesia and ⅔ of all rural household income. (3)
    -Production is expected to increase by 32% by 2020. (3)

    Source: http://www.
    -As the demand for nature-based tourism increases, Indonesian rainforests are assisting in generating higher numbers of revenue. In 2004, Indonesia received over 5.3 million visitors which led to a gain of nearly US $4.8 billion dollars and the numbers have only increased since then (1). The increase in attention towards these tropical paradises have also led to large attention towards critical environmental issues that can be found in these gorgeous location.

    Human Impact of the Ecosystem

    Unfortunately, Indonesia’s rainforests have one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. Due to the increasing demand for commodities such as palm oil, pulp, paper, and plywood, the rainforests have been dealing with rapid clearcutting, estimating over a million-2.8 million hectares lost annually. (2) The lands are rapidly being demolished due to the struggle between small-scale farmers seeking to support their families and livelihoods and international corporations who desire the goods, commodities and services that the rainforests provide.

    Source: CNN

    The rampant deforestation has already led to the loss of over an estimated 72% of the original clearing (2). The techniques implemented to clear the forests have led to high emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, as well as an increase in greenhouse emission due to the deforestation. Furthermore, the smoke from the slash-and-burn technique, has led to heavy pollution, with the heavy smoke often shutting down regional traffic, inducing public health alerts, and interfering with city life. The palm oil plantations and factories located near the rainforests have further damaged the territory with its usage of pesticides and factory run-off.

    How Can We Improve the Human Impacts on the Ecosystem?

    In order to reduce human impacts, which destroys the ecosystems, on Indonesian Rainforests sustainable forestry industry and related manufacturing is the most essential. Especially sustainable forestry management within the pulp and paper industry is significant since it can ensure the development of Indonesia’s economy at the same time preserving the treasure of rainforests.
    Three elements crucial to sustainable forestry management are (1) strong government leadership (2) zero tolerance for illegal wood with the implementation, and (3) NGO’s partnerships in active conservation program. 

    1. Strong government
    - Strong government is necessary to ensure companies that work in the forestry industry to comply the government’s regulation.

    2. Zero Tolerance for Illegal Wood
    - When the government takes a firm stance toward the illegal logging, which is the biggest problem in the rainforests, it would have positive effect on preserving the ecosystems in the regions.

    3. Partnerships of NGOs in conservation programs
    - in addition to the regulations and enforcement, for the future protection of the ecosystem, people's awareness and participation is crucial
    - NGO's involvement in conservation projects could bring public's attention and lead to investment and participation in conservation programs.

    With these three efforts, Indonesian Rainforests which contain the world most diverse ecosystem could be saved.

    source: Gunawan, Hendra. "Preserving Indonesian Rainforests."Jakarta Globe. 01 08 2011: n. page. Web. 27 Nov. 2013. <>.

    Status & Future of Rainforests

    Protected Areas in Indonesia's Rainforests

    In the early 1980's, the Indonesian government began to apply and strengthen its nature conservation policies to create and form the foundation for Indonesia's current national parks system. This movement was largely influenced by the UNDP/FAO National Parks Development Project, the first Environmental Management Act, and the third Worlds Park Congress held in Bali in 1982, which pressured the various governmental departments into taking action. (6)

    This lead to the development of various protected areas in large regions of Indonesia, such as Sumatra, and the formation of national parks, such as the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park and Gunung Leuser National Park.. These forest areas were to be preserved for watersheds, conservation or limited production. Unfortunately, despite the government's attempts, massive deforestation continued to occur.
    Map of deforestation Sumatra wide
    Due to unfair nepotism and corruption within the government, much of Indonesia's lands were given as concessions or sold in business deals to large business operations. Businessmen, government officials, politicians and workers have gained large sums of money for the deforestation, urbanization and construction in the rainforests. Illegal logging grows rampant as the rainforests continue to be taken over by plantations and factories. Therefore, it has been difficult to prevent the rapid loss of these forests in Indonesia.

    Future of the Rainforests

    Fortunately for these Indonesian rainforests, massive attention has been directed towards these areas due to its high levels of biodiversity and its role as home for many endangered species.

    Hundred of millions of dollars have been generated in international causes in support of preservation and conservation of these rainforests. Awareness is being spread due to the help of organizations such as Greenpeace International, Rainforest Action Network, the Indonesian Rainforest Foundation, RSPB, and more.

    Many documentaries have been made to spread awareness of the rapid loss of rainforests that have occurred in Indonesia.

    Fortunately, in recent years, efforts have been made to implement a new model for protected area management, particularly in Indonesia. Due to the efforts of conservation-focused entrepreneurs and businessmen, Sukianto Lusli, Agus Budi Utomo and Yusup Cahyadin, the Harapan Rainforest on the island of Sumatra has become the first and only operational restoration program in Indonesia. This system has proven to be beneficial for protecting threatened habitats, restoring biodiversity and supplementing the existing network of protected areas of these rainforests. Indonesia is currently in the process of developing 40 additional areas to this framework. (8)

    Photo of Harapan Rainforest. Source:

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013


    1. Charters, Tony, and Elizabeth Saxon. A Practical Guide to Good Practice for Tropical Forest-Based 
                    Tours. N.p.: Conservation International, 2013. Print.

    2. Colfer, Carol J. Pierce., Nancy Lee. Peluso, and See Chung. Chin. Beyond Slash and Burn: Building                        on Indigenous Management of Borneo's Tropical Rain Forests. Bronx, N.Y., U.S.A.: New                             York Botanical Garden, 1997. Print.

    3. The Economic Benefit of Palm Oil to Indonesia. Rep. Arlington, VA: World Growth, 2011. Print.

    4. Gaveau, D., H. Wandono, and F. Setiabudi. "Three Decades of Deforestation in Southwest Sumatra:      
                      Have Protected Areas Halted Forest Loss and Logging, and Promoted Re-growth?" Biological 
                       Conservation 134.4 (2007): 495-504. Print.

    5. Gunawan, Hendra. "Preserving Indonesian Rainforests." Jakarta Globe 1 Aug 2011. Print.

    6.  "Indonesia." Rainforest Conservation Fund RSS. Rainforest Conservation Fund RSS, n.d. Web. 27 Nov.                      2013. < 


    7. "Indonesian Rainforests." Rainforest Action Network. Rainforest Action Network, n.d. Web. 26 Nov.                                                 2013.

    8. "Saving the Rainforest with a Groundbreaking Protected Area Management Model." IUCN. IUCN, 20                           Mar. 2013. Web. 27 Nov. 2013                    
                    <                             12675/Saving-the-rainforest-with-a-groundbreaking-protected-area-management-model>.

    9. Sukardjo, Sukristijono. "Indonesian tropical rainforests and climate change." Jakarta Globe 28 Aug.                         2010: Print.

    10. Thomas P Tomich, Meine van Noordwijk, Stephen A Vosti, Julie Witcover, "Agricultural development 
    with rainforest conservation: methods for seeking best bet alternatives to slash-and-burn, with
    applications to Brazil and Indonesia", Agricultural Economics, Volume 19, Issues 1–2, 1 
    September 1998, Pages 159-174