Rainforests are something the world cannot afford to take for granted any longer.
These precious environments, found in numerous continents, are homes to swathes of endangered species as well as indigenous tribes.
But deforestation, caused by industry, has wiped out an insanely large proportion of them in recent years.
What causes deforestation? What effect is it having on our planet and the beings that occupy it?
Between 2000 and 2012, 2.3 million square kilometres (890,000 sq mi) of forests around the world were cut down. That has led to the devastation of several species of animal, flora, fauna and homes of indigenous tribes.
This rate of deforestation is not slowing down despite international attempts to stop the causes of deforestation in its tracks.
But the number of causes of deforestation make it difficult to tackle.
Currently the palm oil industry is one of the worst offenders, as the tree which produces the oil thrives best in Africa, Indonesia, Asia, North America and South America where rainforests tends to be.
OFFICIALS in the Indonesian province of Aceh have vowed to safeguard the last known habitat shared by tigers, orangutans, rhinos and elephants, but concerns abound that the proposed protections are limited in scope.
The provincial government, which enjoys a degree of autonomy from the central government in Jakarta, has declared there will be no infrastructure projects developed inside the Gunung Leuser National Park. The park is part of the Leuser Ecosystem, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the only known habitat on Earth home to critically endangered Sumatran tigers, orangutans, rhinos and elephants.
Specifically, officials are revoking a plan to drill for geothermal energy in the park, as they seek to remove it from UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger. The park has been on the list since 2011 due to ongoing destruction of its rainforest ecosystem.
“In accordance with Aceh’s spatial plans, there [will be] no infrastructure development inside the Gunung Leuser National Park,” Aceh Deputy Governor Nova Iriansyah said as quoted on the provincial government’s website.
Photographer Charlie Dailey visited the island to document efforts to relocate a critically endangered species.
The Leuser Ecosystem is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northern Sumatra and one of the largest single continuous blocks of tropical rainforest left in the whole of south-east Asia. It is also home to the orangutan, one of the region’s most endangered species.
Despite Leuser’s World Heritage status, it is under continued threat from deforestation by palm-oil plantations, affecting both the fragile ecosystem and critically endangered iconic wildlife.
Photographer Charlie Dailey travelled to Sumatra to document the efforts to relocate orangutans in immediate danger.
The rainforests are the natural habitat of the Sumatran orangutan. A large proportion of the population lives in the borders of Leuser, with the highest density in the lower peat-swamp regions of Tripa, Kleut and Sinkhil – primary tropical forest with canopies up to 40ft (12m) high.
When a palm-oil company moves into an area, large swathes of forests are felled to make way for plantations. To plant on the waterlogged peat-land the companies have to create drainage canals.
Twelve years of deforestation in Sumatra have broken the habitats of its native big cat into smaller fragments, a new study says.
Only two of the remaining tiger forest landscapes in Sumatra are believed to have populations that are viable for the long term, both of which are under threat from planned road projects.
The researchers are calling for a complete halt to the destruction of tiger-occupied forests in Sumatra and the poaching of the nearly extinct predator.
JAKARTA — Extensive deforestation in Sumatra has corralled the island’s native tigers into fragmented habitats, only two of which contain a sufficiently robust population of the nearly extinct big cat, a recent study suggests.
A NEW scientific paper has highlighted rising numbers of critically endangered tigers in a national park on Indonesia’s Sumatra island as the result of establishing an Intensive Protection Zone.
Authored by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park Authority, the paper demonstrates numbers of Sumatran tigers in the park rose significantly over the decade to 2015, despite being on the Unesco List of World Heritage in Danger list.
“This increasing population trend in Sumatran tigers is a dream come true for all conservationists in Indonesia,” said Dr Noviar Andayani, WCS-Indonesia country director and co-author of the paper, which was published in Oryx – The International Journal of Conservation.
The Panthera tigris sumatrae is the only remaining species of “island tigers”, a subspecies including the now-extinct Java and Bali tigers.
The population of Sumatran tigers – a critically endangered species found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra – may have increased despite living in a threatened UNESCO World Heritage Site, a study suggests.
The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is the only extant sub-species of ‘Island tigers’, which includes the now-extinct Javan and Bali tiger.
This sub-species is genetically distinct from the other six sub-species of continental tigers.
Researchers, including those from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), set 123 camera traps over a 1,000 square kilometre forest block located in a protection zone at the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in Indonesia.
Results of the camera-trap study showed a Sumatran tiger population density increase to 2.8 tigers per 100 square kilometres in 2015 from 1.6 tigers in 2002.
Furthermore, the proportion of male and female tigers recently recorded was 1:3.
Jakarta, Indonesia (Oct. 23, 2017) – A new scientific publication from WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) and the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park Authority looks at the effectiveness of the park’s protection zone and finds that the density of Sumatran tigers has increased despite the continued threat of living in an ‘In Danger’ World Heritage Site.
Living only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, the Critically Endangered Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is the only extant sub-species of ‘Island tigers’, which includes the now-extinct Javan and Bali tiger. This sub-species is genetically distinct from the other six sub-species of continental tigers.
Sumatran tigers face many challenges to their continued existence in the wild, where they require a home range of 25,000 hectares. These include being poached for their skin, bones and other body parts, involvement in conflict with people, a depleted prey base, and habitat loss.
Even at a global level, its exceptionality is evident, as host of over 4,000 plant species, 450 species of birds and 180 species of mammals.
Today’s List of World Heritages in Danger includes Indonesia’s Tropical Rainforests Heritage of Sumatra (TRHS), which encompasses three national parks along the island: Gunung Leuser, Kerinci Seblat, and Bukit Barisan Selatan.
Protection of the world’s cultural and natural heritage was among topics at last month’s meeting of the World Heritage Committee under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The Sumatra site of rainforests was inscribed into the World Heritage List in 2004 given its exceptional beauty, significant on-going ecological evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals, including threatened species of outstanding universal value.
The exceptionality of TRHS has found no comparison in Indonesia.
Indonesia is celebrating 72 years of independence today. So why not learn a little more about the world’s fourth biggest country?
1. It covers a lot of ground
This vast place extends 5,120 kilometres from east to west. That’s longer than the distance (as the crow flies) from London to Tehran (4,403km).
2. And is made up of 18,307 islands
That’s according to a 2002 survey by the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (the CIA World Factbook seems to think it’s 17,508, however, while a more recent survey, by a different agency, put the figure at 13,466). Only Canada, Norway, Sweden and Finland have more.
3. It’s heaven for animal lovers
According to Conservation International, just 17 countries are considered “megadiverse”. Each possesses a vast number of different species – many found nowhere else. And Indonesia is one.
Local officials currently have plans to build roads in Mount Leuser, Bukit Barisan Selatan and Kerinci Seblat National Parks in Indonesia’s Sumatra Island.
Conservationists fear these plans could accelerate habitat loss and degradation in this highly biodiverse forest complex, which is home to many endangered species.
Proponents of road development cite the need for increased economic opportunities for local people and evacuation routes in case of natural disasters.
One of the last and largest remnants of tropical rainforest in Asia is under threat from multiple road development plans.
This forest complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (TRHS), is located on the spine of the Bukit Barisan Mountain Range in Indonesia’s main western island, Sumatra.