From: Jeremy Hance, Mongabay
Published February 4, 2010 06:23 AM

Half of Indonesia's species remain unknown

Incorporating 17,000 tropical islands, Indonesia is one of the world's richest areas of biodiversity. However, 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," the deputy assistant of biodiversity conservation at the State Environment Ministry, Utami Andayani, told The Jakarta Post, adding that, "it is difficult for us to complain if other countries exploit our biodiversity for commercial purposes such as medicine because of the lack of data to prove the species are from Indonesia," 


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.

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