With a goal of raising $1,000,000, Giving Day for Apes' 10th year may be the most exciting one yet. Fundraising begins on September 11th, leading up to the 24-hour giving day on October 3rd. On that day, participating sanctuaries and rescue centers will compete on leaderboards to raise the most money for their cause and win prizes generously furnished by sponsors.
Forest fires have significant and often devastating impacts on forest ecosystems and wildlife. These fires can be caused by both natural factor, such as lightning, and human activities, such as agricultural practices, logging, and land clearing. Here are some of the key impact of forest fires on ecosystems and wildlife:
1. Habitat Destruction
Forest fires can rapidly destroy large areas of forest, eliminating habitat for a wide variety of plant dan animal species. Many species, especially those with limited mobility, may struggle to escape the advancing flames, leading to mortality and population declines
2. Biodiversity Loss
Fires can result in the loss of biodiversity by directly killing plants and animals and destroying their habitats. Species that specialized to specific habitats or rely on particular vegetation types may be particularly vulnerable.
3. Population Declines
Wildlife populations that are directly affected by fires may experience significant declines. In some cases, entire populations or even species may be at risk of local extinction if their habitats are severely damaged or destroyed.
4. Disruption of Ecosystem Services
Forest ecosystem provide a wide range of services, including water purification, carbon storage, and climate regulation. Fires can disrupt these services by altering the structure and function of ecosystems.
5. Soil Degradation
Intense fires can lead to soil degradation and erosion, making it difficult for plants to reestablish themselves after the fire. This can lead to long-term changes in plant composition and ecosystems dynamics.
6. Air Quality and Health Impacts
Forest fires release large amounts of smoke and particulate matter into the air, affecting air quality and posing health risks to both wildlife and human populations. Respiratory problems and other health issues can arise due to exposure to smoke and pollutants.
7. Invasive Species Encroachment
After a fire, the disrupted ecosystem may become more vulnerable to invasion by non-native and invasive plant species, which can further alter the composition and structure of the ecosystem.
8. Loss Genetic Diversity
Forest fires can lead to loss of genetic diversity within populations, as individuals with certain genetic traits may be more susceptible to fire or less able to recover afterward
9. Ecosystem Resilience
While some ecosystems are adapted to natural fire regimes, human-induced fires can alter these patterns. Over time, ecosystems may lose their natural resilience to fires, making them more susceptible to future disturbances.
10. Long-Term Changes
Severe and frequent fire can lead to long-term shifts in ecosystem composition and structure. In some cases, ecosystems may transition to different vegetation types or even convert to non-forest landscapes.
Efforts to manage and mitigate the impact of forest fires on ecosystems and wildlife include fire prevention, controlled burns, improved firefighting techniques, and post-fire restoration activities. Conservation strategies that focus on habitat protection, landscape connectivity, and the preservation of natural fire regimes are also important for maintaining healthy forest ecosystems and supporting wildlife populations.
In the last three years, forest and land fires in Indonesia have consumed 2.5 million hectares of forest and land. The details are in 2019 with an area of 1.6 million hectares. In 2020, the area of forest and land fires decreased to 296,000 hectares and increased to 358,000 hectares in 2021. In 2022, the area of forest and land fires decreases again to 204,000 hectares. That's four times the size of Ukraine, which is now fighting an invasion by Russia.
Indonesia's losses due to the impact of forest and land fires throughout 2019 reached US$5.2 billion or the equivalent of Rp 72.95 trillion (exchange rate of Rp 14,000). The World Bank's calculation of economic losses is based on massive forest fires in eight priority provinces, namely Central Kalimantan, South Sumatra, South Kalimantan, Riau, West Kalimantan, Jambi, East Kalimantan and Papua. The World Bank estimates that Indonesia's economic growth will be reduced by 0.09% and 0.05% in 2019 and 2020, respectively, as a result of the forest fires.
Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya said that forest and land fires will increase significantly in 2023. In the period from January 1 to 19, 2023, 31 hotspots were observed. This number increased by 29 percent compared to the same period in 2022. One of the contributing factors is the long dry season accompanied by low rainfall. This is known as a climate anomaly: the lack of rainfall leads to hot weather.
Of course, forest and land fires have long been a scourge for the Indonesian government, as they not only cause forest and land loss and threaten wildlife, but also threaten public health in Indonesia. Therefore, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia (Kemenkes RI) has issued a circular letter on May 23, 2023 on preparedness for forest and land fires. Because in the previous period, 900 thousand people in Sumatra Island and Kalimantan Island suffered from acute respiratory infection or ISPA due to forest and land fires.
It should be noted that during the World Environment Day event in 2021, Siti Nurbaya pledged that between 2015 and 2021, ecosystem restoration activities conducted by the government and multi-stakeholders have succeeded in restoring 4.69 million hectares of land, including peatlands and mangroves, aimed at increasing the productivity of degraded forest and land ecosystems. However, this does not seem to be enough to stop forest and land fires in Indonesia.
The Indonesian government has also enacted the Environmental Protection and Management Law (PPLH) No. 32 of 2009, which allows land clearing by burning under certain conditions. The criminal penalty for those who burn land is imprisonment for a minimum of three years and a maximum of 10 years and a fine of between Rp 3 billion and Rp 10 billion.
Apart from this, CAN Indonesia, as an organization focused on the world of conservation, restoration and wildlife rescue, supports the efforts of the Indonesian government in anticipating more massive forest and land fires, especially on the island of Kalimantan. Not only that, CAN Indonesia will also prepare concrete steps to repair the burned forests and lands in the hope that this condition will improve soon.
Gunung Bawang Protected Forest (HLGB) is designated as a protected forest according to the Minister of Forestry Decree No. 733/Menhut-II/2014 dated 2/9/2014 on Forest and Aquatic Protected Areas in West Kalimantan Province, located at coordinates 109°18'00" to 109°29'00" east longitude and 0°50'30" to 0°59'40" north latitude.
North : Serem Selimbau Village East : Lembah Bawang Village South : Betung River and Bengkayang West : Seren Selimbau Village
Gunung Bawang Protected Forest has a mountainous landscape that extends 18 km. It covers four district: Lembah Bawang, Lumar, Sungai Betung and Bengkayang with a total area of 11,990 hectares (ha).
Gunung Bawang Protected Forest is one of the protected forests in West Kalimantan Province that has a strong ecosystem system. Gunung Bawang Protected Forest is also an important habitat for endemic flora and fauna of the island of Kalimantan, which are endangered.
The flora species are Moon Orchid, Rat-tailed Orchid and Striated Orchid. Meanwhile, the fauna species that have been successfully researched are Deer, Orangutan Kalimantan, Sun Bear, Clouded Tiger, Ruai Bird, and Ivory Hornbill.
Within the Gunung Bawang protected forest, there are also several rivers that flow into Gunung Bawang, including the Raya River, which flows into Selakau, the Plagoi River, the Batu Timah River, and the Banan River.
Due to the biodiversity found in the Gunung Bawang Protected Forest, the Dayak people, who mostly live around the Gunung Bawang Protected Forest, sacralize the protected forest so that it is not destroyed.
Located a hundred meters away from the Long Sam Animal Rescue Center (PPS), the constant noise of generators and welding in the forest has significantly subsided. The challenging task is nearly 99 percent complete.
CAN Indonesia team embraced the challenge of transporting all the necessary materials for building the enclosure, including iron, cement, sand, and others. They have successfully constructed a well-built bear enclosure spanning 18 square meters, which will soon be operational.
One of the hurdles encountered during the project occurred when the Kelay River in Berau Regency, East Kalimantan Province, overflowed due to heavy rainfall. The rainy weather gives the PPS Long Sam a serene atmosphere, providing a tranquil environment away from the bustling city noise. However, it also caused a few days of delay in the team's work.
Nevertheless, these obstacles did not deter CAN Indonesia from their mission to care for wildlife, particularly bears, which face threats from habitat destruction and poaching due to economic activities. As soon as the water levels of the Kelay River began to recede, the team promptly resumed their work.
At present, the team is focused on equipping the enclosure with stairs, resting areas, bathing facilities, and more. This is important because the bears on the island of Kalimantan are Sun Bears, known for their nocturnal behavior. Therefore, the contents of the enclosure play a crucial role, and the team is diligently preparing them.
Sun Bears exhibit daily behavior that involves foraging on the ground and climbing trees in search of food. They are known for their shy and solitary nature, except for females and cubs. Unlike other bear species, they do not hibernate as their food source remains available throughout the year. In a day, these bears can cover a distance of up to 8 kilometers.
Sun Bears contribute to the decomposition and recycling processes of tropical rainforest areas through their habit of digging and breaking up the soil. Additionally, these small bears play a vital role in forest regeneration by dispersing seeds from the fruits they consume.
Recognizing the significant role of Sun Bears in maintaining the natural ecosystem's sustainability on the island of Kalimantan, particularly in East Kalimantan Province, CAN Indonesia hopes that the construction of this enclosure will raise greater awareness and concern for the Sun Bear population among the public.
For two decades, the war between orangutans and coal mining has raged. Significantly, this conflict has impacted the conservation world. In particular, the sustainability of natural ecosystems and wildlife is compromised by the extraction process. Meanwhile, human demand for energy, which is polluting and produces gas emissions, is on the rise. This means: Human dependence on coal is implicitly at the root of the conflict between orangutans and coal mines.
Coal mining activities and the development of various support infrastructures cause changes in land cover, landscape changes, changes in forest stand structure, changes in vegetation composition, and an increase in the number of human activities. In addition, coal mining activities begin with land clearing, which virtually eliminates large trees. These trees are very important to orangutans as food sources, nesting sites, and means of arboreal movement.
In their habitat, orangutans can spend 95 percent of their time in the trees. They move from tree to tree for activities such as eating, sleeping, and traveling. Orangutans can eat up to five times a day as an arboreal endemic primate. Orangutans play an important role in the health of the tropical forest ecosystems in which they live, serving as a keystone species. They disperse seeds while eating a variety of fruits. They can digest larger seeds and travel incredible distances while removing seeds.
In fact, through this nature-destroying process, coal mining has forced 70 percent of orangutans out of the trees and onto the ground, where they risk being hunted. The ability of orangutans to come down from the trees will increase their ability to adapt to the already extensive forest fragmentation and destruction caused by coal mining. This opens up new food sources for orangutans.
Efforts to minimize conflicts between orangutans and coal mining through translocation are not a concrete solution. Several studies have found that orangutans displaced by mining operations may be forced to move to smaller areas or closer to human settlements. This can lead to conflict, as orangutans may attack crops or cause property damage, leading to negative attitudes towards the species and even killing.
Therefore, there are several solutions that can be taken to protect orangutan habitat that is being eroded by coal mining:
First, coal mines are required to establish orangutan corridors to prevent prolonged conflicts and facilitate movement within their home range. Management of forest corridors for wildlife will be carried out in collaboration with the area management unit or area stakeholders connected to the corridor.
Second, encourage the government to review coal mining policies and regulations to prioritize the preservation of critical orangutan habitat as a result of the mining process.
Third, to minimize human dependence on coal energy through the use of renewable energy. However, this solution is one of the most difficult to implement, given that capitalism makes human life more consumptive.
The conclusion is that the conflict between orangutans and coal mining will not end unless all actors, including the government, mining companies, NGOs and the community itself, share the same understanding of the importance of preserving forests and protecting orangutan habitats.