The Sumatran rainforest, home of indigenous people, tigers, rhinos and orangutans, may be mostly gone in as few as 20 years, according to scientists who say the proliferation of palm oil plantations is a major factor.
Already more than half of Indonesia's rainforests have disappeared because of industrialization and according to The Guardian permission has been granted to convert 70 percent of what remains into plantations Â– many of which will grow palms for their palm oil. The logging and mining industries are also interested in making new forays into the Sumatran rainforest.
That's certainly not good for the tigers and other animals that once roamed the area nearly unbothered. The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that only about 250-400 Tigers remain. The number of rhinos may be down to double digits. The orangutan population continues to fall, too.
Rainforest conservationists are concerned that if the Indonesian government doesn't act swiftly and with a sense of urgency most of the rainforest will be irreparably lost.
The vast land grabs have also prompted the kind of conflict that you'd expect between indigenous people and industrialists. More than 2,000 human rights violations and 22 deaths have been reported since the tsunami struck the area in 2004.
There are small signs of progress in the region. Media scrutiny is putting some pressure on palm oil plantations and lumber harvesters. A series of articles documenting the abuses of Asia Pulp and Paper prompted companies such as Adidas, Kraft and Staples to find new paper suppliers.
Care To Click will continue to monitor the deforestation of the Sumatran rainforest. It would be a tragedy to lose an area that is the habitat for so many wonderful animals like tigers, rhinos and elephants.
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