Deforestation, Poaching & Wildfires

a recently rescued orangutan baby clings to its cage (source: Taiwan News, 16 November 2017)

Orangutans are (critically) endangered, with current populations estimated to be >>INSERT TEXT<<. Three main human activities threaten – roughly equally – the remaining wild orangutan are deforestation, poaching and wildfires.

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Deforestation

1980-2020 forest loss in Indonesia (source Roda, 2021; >>LINK<<)

Over the decades, the Bornean and Sumatran rainforests have steadily degraded and perished, resulting in the serious loss of orangutan habitat. Around the 1960s and the 1970s, these tropical rainforests were logged during the plywood boom (see image right) and many were then converted into paper&pulp plantations and transmigration areas during the 1980s and 1990s. Since the turn of the century, the remaining rainforests are further threatened by the oil palm cultivation boom. Currently, timber extraction and agribusiness – both legal and illegal – are the main causes of deforestation and orangutan habitat loss.

2001-2016 drivers of forest loss throughout Indonesia (source: Austin et al, 2019)

Agricultural practices business >>MORE<<. Historically, large-scale estates for the production of palm oil (see image left), paper & pulp, rice and rubber have been the main causes of orangutan habitat loss by agribusiness in Borneo and Sumatra. For instance, the habitat of the Bornean Orangutan was mainly replaced by grassland/shrubland (abandoned) or by commercial and smallholder oil palm plantations between 2001-2016 (see the image above). But in Sumatra, home of the Sumatran orangutan and the Tapanuli orangutan, their habitat was mostly replaced by commercial and smallholder paper & pulp and oil palm plantations.

selective logging in Kalimantan (source: KAYON, 2016)

Silviculture (see image right) is the practice of extraction (commercial) timbers from natural forests and timber plantations. >>MORE<<. While much of the timbers are extracted for plywood, they are also turned into >>deckings, XXX, and XXX<<.

Poaching

>>MAIN TEXT<< Today, poaching orangutans for bushmeat and the pet trade are the main illegal contributors for the decline of orangutan populations throughout Borneo and Sumatra.

bushmeat remains to be a serious issue >>MORE<<.

The pet trade is >>MORE<<.

Wildfires

>>MAIN TEXT<<

Climate change is an important inevitably lead to the use f

Slash-and-burn is another important cause of wildfires. >>MORE<<

Learn more about these threats in our latest posts
  • Can palm oil save orangutans? - Millions of people around the world have seen the footage of the lone wild orangutan in an apocalyptic landscape of destroyed forest desperately trying to fight off a bulldozer; it has become symbolic of the catastrophic devastation wrought upon rainforests and wildlife by the palm oil industry.  So, it comes as no surprise that caring...