Papua’s Forests Are Coming Under Major Threat | b l o g o d r i l

16 November 2009

Papua’s Forests Are Coming Under Major Threat

Papua’s forest wilderness is a wonder, a promised land, a rich motherlode of natural and cultural history to be studied.

The cutting down of tropical forests in Papua for oil palm plantations will not only lead to increased global warming but also destroy some of the last great tracts of untouched tropical forest in the Asia Pacific region. The forests of Papua are rich in bio-diversity and are also utilized by the indigenous people in every aspect of their lives.

Expanding of palm-oil plantations would entail the creation of four million hectares of plantations concentrated in the south-eastern districts of Merauke, Boven Digoel and Mappi, and in the Sari, Keerom and Jayapura regencies on the northern side of the Central Highlands.



Scott Frazier cites Friends of the Earth (2004) on the impacts of plantations on biodiversity. 80-100% of mammal, reptile and bird species are lost (when plantations are established in primary tropical forest). Fire is often used as a management tool on plantations. This fire can spread to the surrounding habitats.[1]


Papua’s forests are highly species rich, with minimal stand dominance by particular tree species, and with remarkable historically-driven variation from site to site, even within single catchments. One-hectare stands of forest typically support between 70 and 200 species of trees larger than 10 cm diameter at breast height (dbh). It is thus difficult to taxonomically characterize the forest types of Papua. Instead, types are delineated by elevation, rainfall, and structure. In general, Papua’s forests can be termed “tropical humid forests.” [2]

The forests cover more than 42 million hectares, or 24 percent of Indonesia's total remaining forested area. Compared to other islands in Indonesia, Papua is still relatively rich in forests.

Some 85 percent of Papua's forests are classified as intact forests, comprising a mixture of unique Asian and Australian plant species. Almost 60 percent of the mammal population in Papua is endemic to the island, as are more than 40 percent of Papua's birds.

More than 47 percent of Papua's forests are classified as lowland rainforests, which makes the province home to the largest remaining tracts of lowland forest in Indonesia.

Papua’s forests are the largest expanse of intact tropical rainforests in Southeast Asia. There is no doubt that the rich, bio-diverse forests of Papua are coming under major threat as the Indonesian government looks to replace the exhausted forests resources in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

Sources:
References:
1. Marianne Klute, 2008. Forests in Papua: Data and Facts by , Forest Watch Indonesia, contribution to the Forest Conference of the West Papua Network in Written on 26th January 2008
2. Bruce M. Beehler,2008. Ecology, Biogeography and Environment of Papua, Conservation International.

Video Source: Greenpeace International

Related Posts:
1. King of Paradise Bird Swing His Tail
2. Fast Growing Plantation: Is It Good or Bad?




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