Making tree conservation a top priority in Indonesia

Conservation Problem

Indonesia is home to more than 100 Critically Endangered tree species, severely threatened by forest loss, fire and illegal logging. Compared to the country’s better known mammals and birds, Indonesia’s trees receive very little conservation attention.

Project Goal

We aim to make Indonesia’s threatened trees a national priority for conservation, catalysing a dynamic group of conservation managers and technical experts to deliver action on the ground across the country.

Why these species?

Indonesia is home to many remarkable trees. Towering dipterocarps reach heights of over 70m, mighty ironwoods produce one of the world’s hardest timbers and durians are notorious for producing a pungent fruit which you may love or hate depending on your taste.

These versatile and valuable trees are under threat from logging and loss of their forest home to palm oil plantations and forest fires. At least 100 Indonesian species are known to be Critically Endangered.

Despite the importance of the country’s tree species, they receive very little conservation attention compared to other species groups. While many animals, including tigers, rhinos, orang-utans and hornbills, are prioritised for conservation under national action plans enshrined by Indonesian law, until recently, no such plans have been made for the country’s trees.

A dipterocarp tree. Credit Arief Hamidi/FFI

What are we doing about it?

We aim to ensure that Indonesia’s most threatened tree species become national priorities for conservation, helping to increase funding and action needed to protect and restore the last populations. With our partner, Forum Pohon Langka Indonesia (the Indonesia Forum for Threatened Trees), we are carrying out the following key actions:

  • We are bringing together a group of Indonesia’s top tree conservation experts, supporting them to identify and red list priority species and develop recommendations for conservation.
  • We are supporting the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to develop and implement a National Strategy and Action Plan for Conservation (known as a SRAK) for the country’s most threatened trees.
  • We are supporting local government, NGOs and communities in Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan to implement actions on the ground, following the recommendations provided by the action plan.
  • We are leading by example, protecting and restoring threatened trees across forest sites where FFI is active across Indonesia, including in Aceh, Jambi and West Kalimantan.

Members of the Indonesia Forum for Threatened Trees. Credit: FFI Indonesia.

Key achievements

Our work has put threatened trees onto the national conservation agenda, securing new legal protection and kick-starting new actions on the ground.

Conservation for 12 threatened tree species has been enshrined into Indonesia law following the development of a National Strategy and Action Plan for Conservation. This is the first time that such a plan has been developed for any of the country’s tree species. This ten year plan will help to provide extra funding, attention and action for these trees.

New actions are already underway for three of the country’s most threatened species – Dipterocarpus littoralis, Dipterocarpus cinereus, Vatica bantamensis, with fieldwork in 2017 and 2018 helping to find new individuals and identify priority areas for further protection and planting.

Threatened tree nursery in West Kalimantan. Credit: Jaswadi/Head of Kebun Bibit Rakyat, Desa Pelang Kalbar

Contact details

For more information on this project, please contact globaltrees@fauna-flora.org

Did you know?

Some baobab trees are believed to be the dwelling place of spirits. In Madagascar, offerings of honey and rum are left at their base.