Indonesia– A report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)today warns that illegal logging is rapidly destroying the last remaininghabitat for orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra.
Young orangutan in Borneo. (Photo: Rhett Butler)
The report says that up to 98 percent may be destroyed by 2022 without urgent action.Over the past five years, logging of rainforests in Borneo and Sumatra has accelerated for timber harvesting and oil palm plantations used for producing palm oil, an increasingly important source of biofuel. The UN report, titled The last stand of the orangutan: State of emergency, estimates that more than 73 percent of all logging in Indonesia is illegal and that illicit logging is now taking place in 37 of the country’s 41 national parks.
At current rates of intrusions, it is likely that some parks may become severely degraded in as little as three to five years, that is by 2012, states the study.
The report conclude that habitat loss for orangutans, which are only found in forests on Borneo and Sumatra, is occurring at 30 percent higher than previously believed.
In 2006 Indonesia had the world’s highest deforestation rate. Preliminary figures indicate that the nation may have lost more than 30,000 square kilometers of forest — one of the largest areas of forest loss on record. Greenhouse gas emissions released from burning and forest conversion have made Indonesia the third largest contributor to global warming.