Deforestation of primate habitat on Sumatra and adjacent Islands, Indonesia

Jatna Supriatna, Asri A. Dwiyahreni, Nurul Winarni, Sri Mariati, Chris Margules

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The severe declines in forest cover on Sumatra and adjacent islands have been well-documented but that has not slowed the rate of forest loss. Here we present recent data on deforestation rates and primate distribution patterns to argue, yet again, for action to avert potential extinctions of Sumatran primates in the near future. Maps of forest loss were constructed using GIS and satellite imagery. Maps of primate distributions were estimated from published studies, museum records and expert opinion, and the two were overlaid on one another. The extent of deforestation in the provinces of Sumatra between 2000 and 2012 varied from 3.74% (11,599.9 ha in Lampung) to 49.85% (1,844,804.3 ha in Riau), with the highest rates occurring in the provinces of Riau, Jambi, Bangka Belitung and South Sumatra. During that time six species lost 50% or more of their forest habitat: The Banded langur Presbytis femoralis lost 82%, the Black-And-white langur Presbytis bicolor lost 78%, the Black-crested Sumatran langur Presbytis melalophos and the Bangka slow loris Nycticebus bancanus both lost 62%, the Lar gibbon Hylobates lar lost 54%, and the Pale-Thighed langur Presbytis siamensis lost 50%. Two species, the Pagai langur Presbytis potenziani and the Pagai macaque Macaca pagensis, both from the southern part of the Mentawai islands, are not represented in national parks or protected areas at all, and a further five species are found in only one protected area. The causes of deforestation are many and varied, but by far the leading causes are logging, followed by fire and/or conversion to plantations. Enforcement of existing regulations protecting primates, disentanglement of land claims and overlapping boundaries, a halt to logging in existing forests, a halt to road building through forests, clarification of how traditional adat law relates to protected areas, and the creation of new, enforceable laws protecting species from trade and exploitation will all be needed if Indonesia is to uphold the commitments to primate conservation that it has already made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-82
Number of pages12
JournalPrimate Conservation
Volume31
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • Deforestation
  • Indonesia
  • Primate Habitat
  • Primates
  • Sumatra

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