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The Invasions in Our National Parks

Translator

TEMPO

Editor

Laila Afifa

22 June 2024 11:00 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaInvasive alien species are attacking dozens of national parks in Indonesia. This is a serious threat that could harm the ecosystem.

The assault of invasive alien species on dozens of national parks in Indonesia must be taken seriously. These attacks must be prevented because these invasive species could seriously damage the ecosystem and result in major ecological and economic losses.

Invasive alien species are animals, plants, and microorganisms that are brought to places away from their natural habitats and that have a negative impact. They cause damage and establish populations in the habitats they invade, reduce the number of native species, and change the structure and processes of the ecosystem.

Researchers have found that more than 300 invasive species have spread around Indonesia. Some of them have attacked our national parks. According to the Research, Development, and Innovation Agency of the Environment and Forestry Ministry, more than half of the 54 national parks have been attacked by invasive alien plants. These attacks threaten the endemic plants and animals native to Indonesia.

One example is the Baluran National Park in Situbondo, East Java, where gum Arabic trees have encroached on more than half of the savannah area in the conservation region known as the Africa of Java. These plants displace the grass eaten by the Javan bulls and Timor deer and threaten their sustainability.

The same thing is happening in the Ujung Kulon National Park in Banten. The invasive Arenga palm is threatening the plants eaten by the Javan rhinoceros. This could accelerate the extinction of this endemic animal—especially since the report of 26 Javan rhinoceroses recently being killed by hunters.

The spread of invasive alien species has long been a global issue, given its negative impact on ecosystems. A report issued by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in 2019 found that invasive alien species are one of the five main causes of biodiversity loss, along with changes to land and sea use, direct exploitation of species, climate change and pollution.

However, in Indonesia, this problem is not yet taken seriously. Regulations to address the threat of invasive alien species are still only words on paper. There is not yet any close monitoring of the entrance of invasive species. Often invasive plant seeds come into this country without any serious obstacles.

The Indonesian government needs to learn from developed countries, such as Australia, about security and selection systems to prevent the entry of these invasive alien species. Quarantine centers in Australia are very thorough in their monitoring. Regulation of the trade and movement of invasive alien species is one of the effective ways to prevent their entrance and spread. If invasive species have already entered, there needs to be an analysis of the risks and impacts. If the disadvantages outweigh the benefits, these invasive species must be rapidly eradicated.

In other words, readiness and resolve on the part of the government in restricting the entrance of invasive alien species is very important. Without it, the destruction and extinction of Indonesia’s biodiversity, including in national parks, is only a matter of time.

Read the Complete Story in Tempo English Magazine



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