"Even with current legal protection for the species, tigers are not doing well in many places, especially those outside protected areas," Sunarto said. "As long as forest conversion continues, tigers will require active protection or they will quickly disappear from our planet."
"These results indicate that to thrive, tigers depend on the existence of large contiguous forest blocks," said study co-author Marcella Kelly (http://www.mjkelly.info/), an associate professor in Virginia Tech's Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation and Sunarto's graduate advisor.
The study concludes that in order to protect tigers, it is critical to stop the clearing of Indonesia's remaining natural forests for plantations. With adjustments in management practices in existing plantations to include more understory and riparian forest corridors, tigers could use a mosaic of forest patches across fragmented landscapes.
"We hope that plantation managers and concession owners can use the recommendations of this report to apply best management practices to further protect Sumatran tigers from extinction," said Anwar Purwoto, director of the Forest, Freshwater, and Species Program at WWFIndonesia.
A recently published Indonesian presidential decree on land use in Sumatra plan points out the importance of building wildlife corridors between critical areas, where commitments from concession owners are key to successful implementation.
"Ensuring that tigers are able to roam freely in natural forests and restored habitat is crucial to their survival," said co-author Sybille Klenzendorf, head of WWF
|Contact: Lynn Davis|