Bogor, West Java (ANTARA) - Forest degradation owing to wildfires and land conversion has threatened the existence of endemic species of flora and fauna in Indonesia.

"Degradation and land conversion have major impacts. We are highly concerned about the survival of endemic species," Joeni Setijo Rahajoe, head of the Botanical Department of the Biological Research Center of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), stated here on Tuesday while speaking at a seminar on Management of Indonesian Biodiversity Toward Industry 4.0 Revolution and Sustainable Development Goals.

Forest fires can potentially cause loss of endemic, protected, and also unknown species, she noted.

The blaze could destroy 90 percent of the biodiversity in the affected areas. Seeds that were usually scorched could no longer grow.

Hence, preventive efforts are crucial to preventing forest fires, she noted.

A comprehensive mapping of biodiversity across Indonesia is crucial for formulation of conservation program policies.

LIPI has also suggested an inventory of endemic species on the country's islands to help decide the conservation priority.

In accordance with the Environmental Affairs and Forestry Minister's Regulation No. 106 of 2018, the country has 904 animal and plant species that are in need of protection. Moreover, some 50 species of rare plants have no conservation status.

In the meantime, LIPI had launched a series of public awareness campaigns on biodiversity preservation in the industry 4.0 era under the commemoration of National Flora and Fauna Day on Nov 5.

"The commemoration of Flora and Fauna Day aims to improve public awareness on the importance of protecting and preserving flora and fauna," Atit Kanti, LIPI's head of the Biological Research Center, noted here on Tuesday.

The Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry will hold the Nusantara Biological Diversity (Biodiversity) Expo at Banteng Square, Central Jakarta, from Nov 8 to Dec 8, 2019, to draw attention of the millennial generation to Indonesia’s biodiversity.

"As the expo is themed 'Promoting Flora and Fauna to the Millennial Generation for Excellent Indonesia,' we hope that several millennials would visit the Nusantara Biodiversity Expo and partake in the preservation of animals and plants," Djati Witjaksono Hadi, spokesman of the Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry, stated on Monday.

Indonesia has over 25 thousand species of flowering plants, comprising 10 percent of the world's flowering plant species.

The country also has some 500 mammalian species, 600 reptilian species, some 1,500 species of birds, some 270 species of amphibians, and over 2,500 species of fish, or constituting 45 percent of the world's fish species. Related news: LIPI unveils awareness campaign on biodiversity in industry 4.0 era
Related news: Nusantara Biodiversity Expo scheduled in Jakarta on Nov 8-Dec 8


Translator: Martha HS, Fardah
Editor: Suharto
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