Status and trends of biodiversity, including benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services
Indonesia’s archipelago comprises approximately 17,000 islands, of which around 990 are permanently inhabited. There are 7 major biogeographic regions in Indonesia, centered on the major islands and their surrounding seas. Conservation International considers Indonesia to be one of the 17 “megadiverse” countries, with 2 of the world’s 25 “hotspots”, 18 World Wildlife Fund’s “Global 200” ecoregions and 24 of Bird Life International’s “Endemic Bird Areas”. It also possesses 10% of the world’s flowering species (estimated 25,000 flowering plants, 55% endemic) and ranks as one of the world’s centers for agrobiodiversity of plant cultivars and domesticated livestock. For fauna diversity, about 12% of the world’s mammals (515 species) occur in Indonesia, ranking it second, after Brazil, at the global level. About 16% of the world’s reptiles (781 species) and 35 species of primate place Indonesia fourth in the world. Further, 17% of the total species of birds (1,592 species) and 270 species of amphibians place Indonesia in the fifth and sixth ranks, respectively, in the world.
Indonesia has 566 national parks covering 36,069,368.04 million ha which consist of 490 terrestrial protected areas (22,540,170.38 ha) and 76 marine protected areas (13,529,197.66 ha). The terrestrial protected areas include 43 National Parks, 239 Nature Reserves, 70 Game Reserves, 13 Hunting Parks, 22 Grand Forest Parks, and 103 Nature Tourism Parks. Marine protected areas comprise 4,589,006.10 ha which are managed by the local government. Forests in Indonesia cover 88,495,000 ha and have rich biodiversity, particularly lowland forests.
It is estimated that 40 million Indonesians living in rural areas rely on biodiversity for their subsistence needs. Wetland ecosystems in small islands such as mangrove, coral reef, and sea grass plain are important for local communities, especially traditional fishermen. According to a survey conducted in 2006, only 27% of mangrove in Indonesia is in good condition, 48% in slightly damaged condition and 23% in damaged condition. The broader sea grass plain in Indonesia is estimated to reach 30,000 km2, 10% of which has been damaged. The damaged rate of coral reefs in Indonesia reached 40% in 2006, mainly caused by destructive fishing practices.
The list of species threatened by extinction includes 140 species of birds, 63 species of mammals and 21 species of reptiles. Indonesia has 728 conserved species which consist of 130 mammals, 390 birds, 48 reptiles, 8 fish, 20 butterflies, 12 molluscs, and 9 crustacea.
Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)
The main factors affecting biodiversity loss and species extinction in Indonesia are habitat degradation and fragmentation, landscape changes, overexploitation, pollution, climate change, alien species, forest and land fires, and the economic and political crises occurring in the country.
Lowland forest, which is the most diverse area for biodiversity, is the most threatened forest due to the conversion of land use, moving farms, irreversible forest management, development of infrastructure, mining, fires and various illegal activities. Moreover, land clearance through the conversion of natural forest to oil palm plantation is a contributing factor to the damage in forest area. In 2003, oil palm plantation constituted 5.25 million hectares and increased to 5.59 million hectares by 2005. It is predicted that the expansion of oil palm plantation will increase to 13.8 million hectares by 2020. The conversion of natural forest into oil palm plantation is a serious threat to biodiversity conservation, because the conversion is often conducted in tropical lowland rainforest which is categorized as the type of ecosystem with the highest biodiversity.
Major disruption to the mangrove forest is caused by conversion into settlements, roads, ports and other infrastructure development. Illegal logging is also a factor that threatens preservation of the mangrove forest. The main cause of damage and decreased quality of coral reefs is suspected to come primarily from inappropriate fishing methods, coral reef mining and sedimentation. Destructive fishing practices, such as the use of dynamite, the use of toxic cyanide, muro-ami fishing techniques and destructive fishing nets cause damage to coral reefs. Fishing boats, water sports and tourism activities also contribute to coral reef damage.