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Free «Rainforests» Essay Sample

Rainforests are forests that are located in tropical and subtropical areas with wet climate, where there are no dry seasons (Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, p. 214). There are such forests in some parts of America, Australia and Asia. Indonesia is an Asian country, where rainforests occupy big territories of land and have various species: plants and animals. These unique locations with large amount of land acres have undergone serious problems of degradation in some parts of the world, especially in Indonesia. Primary rainforests with their wet and hot climate were extremely favorable for harvesting, flowering and fruiting all the year round, but during last twenty years there is an alarm of rainforest degradation. Indonesian rainforests are the most extensive in Asia, which overcome great changes lately, because of the growing economy and the increase of population. According to the statement in the Guinness Book of Records (2009, p. 124), Indonesia is the country with the highest rate of deforestation. To cope with the problems of rainforest degradation, it is important to identify the problems, to find the way how to manage with the situation now and in the future, describe the options to alleviate the problems, find resolution for them. Environmental disorders are wide-spread in our modern world with new technologies and growing population.



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Rainforest Degradation: Identification of the Problem

To solve the problem, it`s important to identify the problem itself and, therefore, this essay will be of great importance for the future solution of the situation and its consequences. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia (2008, p.86) defines that Indonesia has 17,000 islands, which form an archipelago, consisting of Indomalayan and Australasian that have a tremendous diversity of flora and fauna. There are about 3,305 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians; 31.1 percent of which are endemic and 9.9 percent– threatened. Indonesian rainforest flora is even more endemic than fauna and consists of 59.6 percent from 29,375 species of plants. University research (Butler 2007) has indicated that the figures show a real threat, that`s why many scientists and Greenpeace movement are worried about the degradation of rainforests in Indonesia. Climate change, pulpwood, human factor and environmental pollution are also the main factors of rainforest degradation and deforestation in the area. The well-known cause of the forest loss and deforestation in Indonesia is logging for tropical timbers and pulpwood. The country exports tropical timbers and pulpwood up to five billion U.S. dollars annually and it uses fifty-five percent of rainforests for logging, which is one of the most forbidding places in the world to development.

In brief, rainforest degradation, as a security threat, is a complicated problem, which requires serious awareness to world authorities and environmentalists. There may be many possible connections between environmental degradation and security. The world authorities are not sure that Indonesia can deal with the local problems by itself.

Evaluation of the Management Environment

As stated above, Indonesia is the country with the world`s highest rate of deforestation, it destroys 1.8 million hectares of its rainforests annually (SOFO, 2007) during the period 2000 to 2005. In 2008 Environmental Performance Index published by Yale and Columbia Universities (Butler, 2009, p.31), placed Indonesia at 102 of 149 countries. This low position is mainly due to the minimum score for poor forest management in the country. According to Greenpeace organization (2010) records, 20 percent of rainforests in Indonesia are dying, hence, they don`t refer to plantations, but only wood gardens.  Timber firms start their practices on the island of Bombeo and New Quinea clearing large amount of forests and move deeper searching better trees for their business (Soros, p.12). For instance, in 1990s, only seven percent of logging firms were located in that region, but today there are more than twenty percent. According to Butler (2009, p.24), Indonesia is the second country after Brazil in rainforest loss. The country is losing millions of virgin forests annually due to the purposes of logging firms and investors, who are looking for higher profits and dollars, not worrying about the environment. Greenpeace organization in its annual reports states about the threat of rainforest degradation in Indonesia, as well as in other countries, and appeals the mankind to take care of the flora and fauna. Unfortunately, in the era of technology, progress and rapid development, people don`t have time and desire to think about natural wealth. Besides, rainforest degradation could have very dangerous consequences in the future and make a social conflict to gain control over income-generating resources.

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Prediction of the Management Environment in the Future

According to Indonesia Business Forecast Report (Q2 2011), years 2010 and 2011 are rather prosperous for Indonesian economy and development. So many scholars and politicians consider that Indonesia has all possibilities to prevent rainforest degradation in the future, in case the President and his Administration adopt a new policy to agriculture, mining industry and pulp & paper industry. Due to Greenpeace report (Copenhagen, 2009) the alarming fact is that Indonesia has one of the fastest rates in deforestation in the world after Amazon and Congo. The famous Indonesian fauna with its tigers, elephants, orangutans, clouded leopards, etc. attracts tourists from all over the world, which gives a great impact into Indonesian economy. Greenpeace organization stated (2009) that during the last fifty years Indonesia lost forty percent of its flora and fauna because of rainforest degradation. It`s an urgent matter to stop destroy forests in order to produce palm oil and make paper and packages from the unique wood. If not to stop rainforest degradation, Indonesia will lose its natural wealth during the next twenty years and there will be no need to keep all those companies, which produce paper, build roads and so on. Due to Los Angeles Times (October, 2011), Indonesia has received moratorium on selling goods and food from deforestation areas, but this won`t help much. According to predictions, half of the rainforests would disappear during next two decades.

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Description of the Problem Cluster Now

Due to different resources and estimations, humans are the main reason of deforestation in Indonesia. The human activities that damage forests, their flora and fauna, are as follows: logging, agriculture, mining in forest areas, construction of villages, farms and roads, etc. Indonesia is losing two million hectares of forests each year (Greenpeace, 2009). Most logging industries in Indonesian forests are illegal, what makes it difficult to the government and Greenpeace organization to control them. Deforestation is the main reason for building and firewood.

Agriculture in rainforests is also one of the reasons of rainforest degradation. Farmers have removed thousands of miles of rainforests for agricultural purposes. According to Butler (2007, p.28), poor farmers are using slash and burn to clear land in the forest. They do it again and again after some years of using the land, because it needs recovery after nutrients. Moving further in the forest farmers, who are mainly not educated, don`t think about the environment and the problems they made. They have the only desire and purpose: to get their harvest and to feed their families or sell the food in the market. That`s not the reason to lose such tremendous parts of national wealth (Butler, 2009, p.41). The local government must take care of the environment and feed their citizens without losing the national wealth, like rainforests, which are unique and rare on the earth. 

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Another serious and dangerous cause of losing rainforests in Indonesia is mining activities, especially in Borneo. Damage for rainforests in Borneo now has resulted in massive erosion, silting up rivers and led to the catastrophic flooding. Mining activities contribute to the degradation of Indonesian rainforests in Papua, Sulawesi and Sumatra, though there are some efforts to rehabilitate mining (Yale and Columbia Universities, 2008).

Road construction is another reason for deforestation and degradation in Indonesia. The construction of highways in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Papua and Sulawesi led to forest destruction in many areas. The construction of roads gives the access to poor people to exploit the forest land illegally. Therefore, the country is losing thousands of hectares of rainforests that leads to its degradation.

The effects from deforestation are wide-spread, including soil erosion, reduced flora and fauna, irregular river flows and others. Pulp bleaching and run-off from mines damage river systems and cropland, while wildlife poaching has reduced populations of several conspicuous species like Javan and Sumatran rhinos, Bali tigers and orangutan. On the island of New Guinea the world`s only tropical glacier is receding due to climate change and deforestation.

Description of the Problem Cluster in the Future

From Greenpeace annual report (2003,p.30), it is obvious that deforestation of tropical rainforests in Indonesia can cause huge problems in the environment in the future due to the harmful activities of the people, who don`t think about its protection. But still, there are huge numbers of people on every continent who are not willing to accept the situation with the unscrupulous corporation and deforestation. The global movement against deforestation in Indonesia and other countries takes place in different parts of the world with the aim to protect the environment. Progressive people realize the importance of this movement and governments of highly developed countries, like the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Germany and others, appeal to the worldwide community to dedicate their efforts to protect the rainforests in Indonesia, human rights and social development. The earth is our home and people all over the world have to remember that doing their best to protect it. This Greenpeace annual report (2003, p. 32) shows that even in economically difficult times, people have a vision of a different world, which is the best hope for a better future.

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Description of the Options to Alleviate the Problem

Many philanthropists and financiers in the world are ready to invest money to protect Indonesia from destruction, deforestation and degradation. In annual Greenpeace meeting in Cancun, Mexico a famous philanthropist George Soros (2010, p.6), made an appeal to protect Indonesia, the largest source of rainforests in Southeast Asia. The Greenpeace activists appeal to Indonesian President Yudhoyono to overcome corruption, illegal logging, and stop deforestation by all means. Only the strict law and serious penalties can stop degradation of rainforests in Indonesia and prevent environmental catastrophe in Southeast Asia. Only the President and his Administration are responsible for the situation with the rainforests in their country and it`s their duty to protect environment, overcome corruption and solve the problem. Wealthy people can invest their money, if they are sure that they will go on purpose, not in vain. Soros highlighted that Indonesia has to change their strategy and be fair to solve the problem to protect their own future from degradation, because rainforest degradation may lead to the national degradation, what would be really dangerous for the nation (Soros, 2010, p.7).

Indonesian administration has to stop their “Mega Rice Project”, which they adopted some years ago. Therefore, if the president and his Administration will provide clear and faithful policy they will overcome difficulties and stop rainforest degradation in Indonesia. Los Angeles Times stated lately (October 5, 2011, p.4) that toy giant Mattel stop buying paper in Indonesia on Wednesday to show their protest against deforestation. Mattel provided new policy consists of refusing to buy wood fiber from the companies, which stand on the places, where natural rainforests were. They are going to maximize recycling of the paper instead of buying paper and help to destroy forests in Indonesia. According to Greenpeace annual report in Copenhagen (2009), many other companies are ready to support this idea. The head of the Greenpeace campaign Bustar Maitar, stated that he would suggest suppliers to avoid buying wood in Indonesia and provide a new paper buying policy with the aim to save rainforests. Among the Indonesian paper supplying companies the biggest Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) group with its sister company Golden Agri Resources” has already committed to clean up its act and has won back lucrative contacts.” (Los Angeles Times, October 5, 2011, p.5). The Greenpeace conference in Copenhagen pays much attention to the problem of Rainforest Degradation in Indonesia appealing companies like Disney and Hasbro to take similar acts to prevent Indonesia from environmental catastrophe.

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To my mind, the main options to alleviate the problem are stop buying wood from the companies in Indonesia, use possibilities to recycle paper and packaging and find out new productive ways to stop rainforests degradation in Indonesia and similar regions, like Brazil and others.

Description of Future Options to Identify a Best Time for Problem Resolution

It`s an important fact, that Greenpeace and the world authorities have to help Indonesia to protect their rainforests from degradation, providing new options for problem resolution. There is no time to wait to identify future options, hence everybody knows their origin. Regulations and applicable laws can guide our efforts solving these problems nationally and internationally (Soros, 2010, p. 12).  The government must establish specific goals and report each year on its progress in the media. All pulp and paper industries must have legal certifications to provide business in the areas of rainforests and Indonesia as a whole. Proper planning and control of the industries, their manufacture and goals can prevent the catastrophe in the future and achieve problem resolution. Obviously, the authorities must protect the rights of indigenous people and give penalties to illegal owners, farmers and workers. Only the mutual efforts of Indonesian government and world authorities can stop rainforest degradation in Indonesia. Greenpeace organization has a great experience in protecting environment and it`s strong enough to help Indonesia to identify a best time for problem resolution. Thus, it`s quite reasonable to find options that won`t discriminate native people, but, on the other hand, will regulate the laws upon industries. Mattel spokesperson (Los Angeles Times, October 5, 2011) underlined that implementing moratorium on Pulp & Paper goods, they don`t mean to discriminate any other companies, which are working legally according to the law, and prevent them from getting vital income from other industries. They also don`t insist to limit their policies to one standard; the main goal they have is not to cooperate with controversial sources.

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How Evaluative Criteria Might Change Over the Next Decades

Indonesia`s rainforests face a discouraging grim future because of the damage they did to its national wealth, including deforestation and soil erosion. The country has the tremendous opportunities for eco-tourism with its wildlife, coral reefs, forests, warm seas, cultural attractions. The flora and fauna is extremely rich, what gives a huge potential for its development, though now it has accent on cheap beach holidays and sex tourism in some parts of the country.

Deforestation in the country is coming from the government Transmigration program in uninhabited woodlands. Though, the government takes some attempts to improve the situation now by partial deforestation, it doesn`t go further than replacing the original forest cover with plantation trees, such as palm, coffee or rubber. Indonesia`s Department of Forestry together with the World Bank develop a forestry management plan. Also many international organizations, like the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), are providing programs, seminars, developing seminal forestry research and a master plan to protect rainforest degradation in Indonesia.  

Due to increasing environmental problems and international pressure, the Indonesian parliament passed Law # 32 of 2009 on Environmental Protection and Management, which provides better protection for the environment; imposes new requirements and restrictions on industries whose activities are risky, including manufacturing, mining, pulp & paper, oil & gas; impose severe penalties on polluters and violators. The regulations, however, need further enforcement measures, including environmental aspects, like reforestation and protection of rainforest, in policy making, which will change the existing situation over the next decades.  It`s important to mention, that the Law needs coordination and management in order to have better results for rainforests protection.

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A variety of measures, like strict monitoring and control, will change the approach to the environmental problem and protection of rainforest, making them issues of the essential importance over the next twenty years. The Indonesian government must prevent rainforest degradation by stopping issue any more licenses for forest and peat land clearance. They must also review activities and territories, where licenses have been already handed out.


Rainforest degradation in Indonesia is a result of rising population density and the growing demand for arable land. Nowadays, there is a demanding need to protect Indonesian rainforests and soil from death. National and local governments are trying to find options to solve the problem and protect rainforests in the future. The main problem, according to different sources (Butler, 2009, Greenpeace, 2010), is a hungry population and intensive commercial logging. The most problematic areas are Sumatra, Sulawesi and Kalimantan, where one can face deforestation, forest fires and soil erosion. Massive forest fires destroy flora and fauna and are worth at least ten billion dollars, which lead to environmental disaster.  Most forests are not protected by the government, and there is very little effort of reforestation. Indonesia`s deforestation rate is the highest in Southern Asia during last decades, approximately one million hectares per year. These threatened figures make an alarm to the world authorities to protect Indonesian rainforests from degradation and destructions. There is a hope that certain government programs will help to overcome the problem in the future and develop a forestry management plan. Some environmentalists insist on the introduction of an environmental court and others propose to strengthen environmental criminal law. No matter what activities the Indonesian government will use, the important issue is the final result.


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