Satellites Show Deforestation Surging In Indonesia’s Tesso Nilo National Park

Environmental News from Asia: 

  • Tesso Nilo National Park is a refuge for Sumatran wildlife, including critically endangered tigers and elephants.
  • But the park lost 67% of its primary forest between 2010 and 2021, with the deforestation rate in 2021 nearly triple that of 2020 and the highest it has been since 2016. Satellite imagery shows further clearing of primary forest in 2022.
  • Much of the deforestation of Tesso Nilo is due to the illegal development of large-scale plantations to grow oil palm and other tree crops.
  • In early 2022, park officials distributed a circular to surrounding communities that reiterated the ban on plantation agriculture in the park, but conservationists say more concerted enforcement action is necessary to curb deforestation.

PEKANBARU, Indonesia — Reportedly home to 3% of the planet’s mammal species and one of the highest levels of lowland plant diversity known to science, Indonesia’s Tesso Nilo National Park is a sanctum for Sumatra’s wildlife – including critically endangered Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) and elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus).

But the capacity of Tesso Nilo to support its wildlife is under threat, with data from the University of Maryland (UMD) visualized on the platform Global Forest Watch showing deforestation nearly tripled between 2020 and 2021. Satellite imagery from Planet Labs suggests this trend may be accelerating, with large swaths of the park’s remaining primary forest cleared in 2022.

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Source: Mongabay