The Paradise Forests

Standard Page - 2011-06-21
The Paradise Forests are one of the world’s last remaining ancient forests, spanning New Guinea, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and their nearby archipelagoes. They are home to a rich diversity of animals and birds, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. The world’s largest flower, the rafflesia, the clouded jaguar, and the Sumatran tiger all call the Paradise Forests home.

The Paradise Forests are one of the world’s last remaining ancient forests, spanning New Guinea, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and their nearby archipelagoes. They are home to a rich diversity of animals and birds, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. The world’s largest flower, the rafflesia, the clouded jaguar, and the Sumatran tiger all call the Paradise Forests home.

The island of New Guinea, divided between Indonesia and the nation of Papua New Guinea, has the largest continuous tracts of ancient forest in the Asia Pacific region. Half of the animals found on this island are unique to the region, and new species are still being discovered with every scientific expedition.

But the Paradise Forests are also disappearing faster than any other forest on earth.

Indonesia has already lost 72% of its intact forests, while Papua New Guinea has lost 60%.

When the bulldozers and chainsaws move in, the damage is staggering. In Papua New Guinea, for example, studies show that industrial loggers destroy seventeen trees for every one that is felled and removed.

As the forests go, so do the animals that depend upon them. Unique to the Paradise Forests, orangutans are one of our closest animal relatives, but are endangered through logging and hunting. Javan rhinos once roamed throughout Southeast Asia, but there are now less than 100 in the world. Sumatran tigers – the world’s smallest tiger – are in grave danger as well, with less than 500 left in the wild. In Papua New Guinea, 58 of the 260 known mammal species and 33 of the 720 known bird species are threatened. Many more unknown species may exist, but we are at risk of losing them before we ever know them.

Not only animals and trees are affected. Indigenous people are not asked when forest concessions are granted to logging companies, and they have no say when their homes are destroyed. The lives of millions of people who depend on the forests for food, shelter and livelihoods are changing beyond recognition.

Categories