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Increasing awareness of environmental preservation among millennials

Increasing awareness of environmental preservation among millennials

Documentation - Rafflesia gadutensis . (Foto Antara)

With Indonesia observing National Flora and Fauna Day on November 5, 2019, the millennial generation has become the focus of a public awareness campaign on preservation of biological diversity, or biodiversity.

Home to some 17 thousand islands and a population of some 260 million, Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world, situated between the Pacific and Indian oceans and bridging the two continents of Asia and Australia.

As the world's largest archipelagic nation, Indonesia has copious species of plants and animals coupled with a unique ecosystem.

As a matter of fact, scientists have acknowledged Indonesia as one of the world’s mega centers of biodiversity for its abundant flora and fauna species and a wide range of natural habitats.

Indonesia is home to some 17 percent of all species in the world, though it accounts for only 1.3 percent of the Earth’s land surface.

The Muslim-majority nation 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 avian species, some 270 species of amphibians, and over 2,500 species of fish, or constituting 45 percent of the world's fish species.

It is also home to 121 species of butterflies, or 44 percent of the endemics; 480 species of hard corals, or 60 percent of the world’s coral species; and 240 rare species, or one percent of the world’s species.

Several of the world’s rarest and endemic fauna species can be spotted in Indonesia including the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), the most primitive reptiles, with a prehistoric appearance; and orangutans comprising the Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) species and the Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo albelii).

Indonesia’s rich flora comprises several unique varieties of tropical plant life in varied forms. Rafflesia arnoldi, for instance, is found only in certain parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan, and is the largest flower in the world.

On Papua Island, 2,500 different orchids are known; among them is the world’s largest orchid, Grammatophyllum papuanus, with three-meter sprays of orange blossoms.

Moreover, Indonesia has 477 species of palm; three thousand species of medicinal plants; over 400 species, or 70 percent of the world’s dipterocarp species, the most valuable timber species in Southeast Asia, including ebony, teakwood, and sandalwood; 122 species of bamboo; and over 350 species of rattan.

To draw attention of the millennial generation to Indonesia’s biodiversity, 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.

The exhibition is being held to observe National Flora and Fauna Day focused on stepping up awareness among members of the younger generation over the criticality of preserving and protecting the country's biodiversity.

The younger generation should be aware of this country's biodiversity, so they can participate in the preservation and conservation of nature.

“As the expo is themed 'Promoting Flora and Fauna to the Millennial Generation for Excellent Indonesia,' we are optimistic 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 Nov 4, 2019.

Furthermore, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) has 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 that falls on Nov 5.

Flora and Fauna Day is being commemorated to increase public awareness of the significance of protecting and preserving flora and fauna.

"Today, we attempt to strengthen again our care for and awareness of environmental preservation," Atit Kanti, LIPI's head of the Biological Research Center, remarked while speaking at a seminar on Management of Indonesian Biodiversity Toward Industry 4.0 Revolution and Sustainable Development Goals held in Bogor, West Java, on Nov 5, 2019.

Kanti appealed to protect floral and faunal habitats, particularly to prevent endemic and endangered species from becoming extinct.

According to the 2010 data, Indonesia’s forest area spanned 130 million hectares, of which 40 million were in sound primary condition, but 45 million hectares were critically damaged.

However, 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 LIPI, stated while speaking during the same seminar in Bogor.

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

The blaze can 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 stated.

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. Related news: Forest degradation threatens existence of endemic flora, fauna: LIPI
Related news: Nusantara Biodiversity Expo scheduled in Jakarta on Nov 8-Dec 8


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