Unesco Adds Sumatra’s Tropical Rainforests to Endangered Sites List
Paris. Unesco has added tropical rainforests in Indonesia to its list of endangered world heritage sites.
A collection of three nature reserves that comprise most of Sumatra’s remaining rainforest was added to the endangered list. UNESCO says the sites face intense pressure from road building, logging, poaching and other illegal activities.
According to the Unesco Web site, the 2.5 million hectare Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra site comprises three national parks: Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park.
“The site holds the greatest potential for long-term conservation of the distinctive and diverse biota of Sumatra, including many endangered species. The protected area is home to an estimated 10,000 plant species, including 17 endemic genera; more than 200 mammal species; and some 580 bird species of which 465 are resident and 21 are endemic,” the Web site says.
“Of the mammal species, 22 are Asian, not found elsewhere in the archipelago and 15 are confined to the Indonesian region, including the endemic Sumatran orangutan. The site also provides biogeographic evidence of the evolution of the island.”
The Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve on Honduras’ Caribbean coast, meanwhile, is back on the list after only coming off it in 2007.
Conservation efforts have faltered in the face of illegal land clearing, hunting and fishing within the over 5,000 square kilometer mountainous reserve.
The UN agency’s World Heritage Committee announced the additions Tuesday, most of them nature-related, at a meeting in Paris.