The loss of Sumatra's carbon-rich forest ecosystems is not just Indonesia's problem this affects the environmental health of the entire planet, added Tomasek.
The report by WWF, Remote Sensing Solution GmbH and Hokkaido University breaks new ground by analyzing for the first time the connection between deforestation and forest degradation, global climate change, and population declines of tigers and elephants.
The province has lost 65 percent of its forests over the last 25 years and in recent years has suffered Indonesia's fastest deforestation rates. In the same period there was an 84 percent decline in elephant populations, down to only 210 individuals, while tiger populations are estimated to have declined by 70 percent to perhaps just 192 individuals.
WWF is alarmed that the loss of forests is taking such a high toll not only on the remaining wild elephants and tigers in Sumatra but also on global climate change, said Dr Sybille Klenzendorf, director of species conservation at WWF-US. The message is clear the world must commit to solutions that can save these forests if we are to significantly slow the rate of climate change and allow nature and people to flourish in Sumatra.
Led by global paper giants APP and APRIL, the pulp & paper and palm oil industries are driving Riau's Sumatran tigers and elephants to local extinction in just a few years by destroying their habitat, the study found.
As part of its efforts to save Sumatras remaining natural forests, WWF is working urgently with the Indonesian government and the pulp and palm oil industries to identify and protect the forests that are home to elephants, tigers, orang-utans and rhinos. Sumatra is the only place on Earth where all four species co-exist.
|Contact: Trishna Gurung|
World Wildlife Fund