Biodiversity has been defined as the variety of plant and animal species found within an ecosystem. Biodiversity is threatened by the loss of species habitat often caused by human activity –and this activity has taken a huge toll. Since 1970, it is estimated that half the world’s vertebrate species have sharply declined. Nearly 40% of all marine and terrestrial populations as well as an astonishing 76% of all freshwater species have been compromised. Advocates say this is not good news since the health of wildlife populations is a good indicator of the overall health of our planet’s ecosystems.

Indonesia is one of Earth’s most biologically diverse and ecologically threatened regions. Its 17,508 islands not only contain 10% of the world's rainforests, but also many coral reefs, atolls, mangrove swamps and ice field ecosystems as well. Indonesia is home to 17% of the world's bird species, 25% of its reptiles and 12% of its mammals. It is also home to more endangered species than any other country, with a third of its species listed. The world’s demand for hard wood and palm oil is responsible for destroying much of Indonesia’s ancient forests. Logging has traditionally taken the heaviest toll on these forests but recently, much forest land has been cleared to make room for Indonesia’s massive oil palm plantations. The oil palm can produce fruit for 30 years and yields more oil per acre than any major oilseed crop. The UN predicts that 98% of Indonesia’s forest area could be destroyed by 2022 if this trend is not reversed. Advocates say international buyers such as China, India and the Middle East will continue to buy palm oil regardless of its environmental or social costs.

Much like its forests, Indonesia’s coral reefs are also in trouble. Indonesia is home to 16% of the world’s coral reefs, second only to Australia. Ocean acidification, overfishing, pollution and climate change are some of the daunting challenges facing not only Indonesia’s coral reefs, but those the world over. Perhaps one quarter of all ocean species are dependent on these ecosystems for food and shelter. Already more than a quarter of these reefs have been destroyed and it is feared all coral reefs could disappear in 20 years. Advocates say we need to study this problem and devise ways to counter these dire threats.

Pending Legislation: None

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Poll Opening Date
May 21, 2020
Poll Closing Date
May 27, 2020

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