The natural biodiversity of flora and fauna is the essence of the ecosystem, linked by the complex food web. For that reason, the conservation of natural biodiversity should not use a sectoral approach, but instead an ecosystem approach. Natural biodiversity is priceless wealth in the ecosystem, which should be conservedthrough the generations.
Unlike the North American and European countries that cleared virgin forests at the onset of industrial development, Indonesia, with its national philosophy “Unity in Diversity”, has from the start followed the land-use paradigm in utilizing natural forests,i.e.,”flora and fauna live side by side in harmony in their own habitats”.
The paradigm’s implementation is stipulated in several different regulations, such as Law No. 41/1999 on Forestry, Law No. 26/2007 on Spatial Planning and Law No. 5/1990 on Conservation of Natural Biodiversity and Ecosystems.
According to the prevailing laws, land in Indonesia is divided into two primary zones, Conservation Zone and Cultivation Zone (Tabel). The main function of the Conservation Zone is to “house” the conservation of flora and fauna either in situ (within their natural habitats) or ex situ (outside their natural habitats), the latter of which is a combination of natural and human efforts. Meanwhile, the Cultivation Zone is also another means for conserving biodiversity through forestry farming methods.
Table : Biodiversity Conservation System in Indonesia
| ||In Thousand|
|Ex Situ and In Situ Biodiversity Conservation in Conservation/Protected Zones|
|Nature Preserves, Wildlife Sanctuaries, National Parks, Nature Parks, Community Forests, Game Hunting Reserves, etc.||41,575||22.1|
|Biodiversity Conservation by Forestry in Cultivation Zones|
|Limited Production Forests, Production Forests, Conversion Production Forests, Industrial Forest Plantations||46,562||24.8|
|Total Forest Area||88,137||46.9|
|Plantations (Oil Palm, Rubber, Coconut, Cacao, Coffee, Tea, Sugarcane, etc.)||22,700||12.1|
|Total Land Cover||110,837||59.0|
|Food Crops, Vegetable Horticulture Farms, Fruit Farms, Tropical Plants/ Biopharmaceuticals/Medicinal Plants, Animal Husbandry Farms, Freshwater Fisheries||32,901||17.5|
|Total Land Area||187,774||100.0|
Source: Environment and Forestry Ministry, Agriculture Ministry, Central Statistics Agency
In situ biodiversity conservation is conducted by keeping the flora and fauna in their natural habitats in protected forests and conservation forests (virgin forests). As each region has a unique ecosystem and natural biodiversity, protected/conservation forests exist in all regions in Indonesia. Protected/conservation forests are not to be converted for other functions. The second method of biodiversity conservation is by maintaining flora and fauna in man-made habitats, similar to but outside their natural habitats. Ex situ facilities take the forms of forest parks, botanical parks or zoos, which exist in many regions. Besides their function to conserve flora and fauna, ex situ facilities are also designed as public recreationareas.
The main function of Cultivation Zones is to facilitate social activities through farms, plantations, production forests, urban areas, residential areas and other designed spaces. The expansion of oil palm plantations takes place within the Cultivation Zone. Unlike the Conservation Zone, land use in the Cultivation Zone is convertible. An area initially allotted for farming can be converted into a non-farming area, production forests can be converted to non-production forests, and oil palm plantations can be converted into non-oil palm plantations, and vice-versa. The Cultivation Zone has not only social and economic functions, but as a whole, also has a third function of biodiversity conservation through cross-generational plant cultivation, animal husbandry farms and fisheries.
Farming plants and animalsare among an effective means to conserve biodiversity while at the same time,catering tohuman needs as has been recorded in the history of civilizations. Agricultural farms, plantations, industrial forestplantations, animal husbandry farms and fisheries, as a whole,are a means to conserve natural biodiversity in human history.