Megadiversity in crisis : politics, policies, and governance in Indonesia's forests

TitleMegadiversity in crisis : politics, policies, and governance in Indonesia's forests
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsMacKinnon K
Book TitleEmerging threats to tropical forests
ChapterP. 291-305. : krt.
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press
CityChicago, Ill
Call NumberM 2008 A 5848
KeywordsBIODIVERSITY, environment, environmental degradation, Excerpta Indonesica, Government policy, INDONESIA, national parks, Nature conservation, Sumatera

The economic crisis in Indonesia, combined with political upheaval, decentralisation, and breakdown of law and order have led to unprecedented pressures on Indonesian forests and national parks. Indonesia was one of the first countries in the world to use the principles of conservation biology to plan a national protected area system representing all habitats in seven biogeographic regions. However, realistic and effective management of the national parks has proven to be a major challenge. The author presents a case study of an integrated conservation and development project (ICDPs), the Kerinci-Seblat National Park (KSNP) in Sumatra. It is one of the largest conservation areas in Southeast Asia, covering more than 1.4 million hectares and harbouring over 4000 plant species, 350 bird species and 144 mammal species. Unfortunately, the KSNP has so far failed to achieve its conservation objectives, despite substantial investments; it remains under threat from agricultural encroachment, illegal logging, and counterproductive regional development policies. The Kerinci case illustrates that success is unlikely to be achieved without real political commitment and local support. Other globally important national parks, such as Tanjung Puting in Kalimantan and Gunung Leuser in Sumatra have also suffered badly. The second half of the essay discusses the root causes of biodiversity loss in Southeast Asia, which include resettlement, transmigration, transport, communications, power generation, land uses that lead to soil degradation, and policies related to timber, agricultural products, and the wood and pulp processing industries. The author concludes that under the current policy environment, conservation efforts in the region are unlikely to achieve their long-term objectives.