Monday, April 18, 2011

Tesso Nilo National Park

Tesso Nilo National Park

Tesso Nilo National Park is a national park in Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. It was declared a national park by the Indonesian government in 2004.[1] The original area of the park was 385,76 km², but the decision has been made to expand it to 1000 km².[2] Tesso Nilo National Park houses some of the largest coherent lowland rainforests remaining on Sumatra. The Center for Biodiversity Management has surveyed over 1,800 plots in tropical forests around the world. They found that no other plot has as many vascular plants as in Tesso Nilo. Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) surveyed forests throughout Sumatra, and also found that Tesso Nilo housed by far the most species.

Flora and fauna

Endangered Sumatran Elephants and critically endangered Sumatran Tigers and Sumatran Orangutans live here.

Conservation and threats

The park suffers heavy encroachment from illegal loggers and illegal settlers who clear the park for crops and palm oil plantations, as well as village sites. Already, 28,600 hectares, or about a third of the park, has been deforested. Even when the park was being established, wood was delivered illegally to Indah Kiat paper mill. The paper industry firm that owns the paper mill received millions of US$ from European credit agencies, including the German Hermes. In November 2009, WWF announced that the park had finally been expanded by 44,492 hectares [3] but encroachment still remains a serious problem. During drought periods, the forest is susceptible to wildfires. In the October 2006 fires, 1 km² of the park was burnt.[4] According to 2009 WWF survey, the population of Sumatran elephants had reached 200 in the park, and around 350 elephant in Riau Province.

Elephant Conservation

The Belgian government committed to provide 200,000 euros in assistance for the construction of a Sumatran elephant conservation centre in the Tesso Nilo National Park, with the first quarter to be disbursed in 2011. The project will fund the relocation of dozens of tame elephants from Minas in Siak district, to Tesso Nilo. The relocation was justified by the loss of habitat in Minas due to oil palm plantations and oil mining