Incorporating 17,000 tropical islands, Indonesia is one of the world’s richest areas of biodiversity.According to the Jakarta Post, over half of this biodiversity remains unrecorded with only 20 of the more than 400 regencies in the country recording species. Indonesia is one of the 17 largest biodiversity hotspots on the planet, but we have not recorded most of it.
Many of these species may vanish without ever being known. Indonesia’s forests, and in turn its species, are facing unparalleled pressures. Rampant deforestation for tropical wood, oil palm plantations, mining, and fuel have taken a great toll on Indonesia’s environment. Fifty years ago 82 percent of Indonesia was covered with forests. As of 2005 that percentage has dropped to 48 percent. Illegal logging is a huge issue in the nation: even its protected areas have been infiltrated in the past.
Indonesia is home to over 30,000 recorded species of plants and over 3,000 mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Its number of recorded mammals—515—is second only to Brazil. Indonesia is the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases (after China and the United States) largely due to the deforestation of its rainforests and the destruction of its peatlands.