Indonesia needs to apply biosphere reserve concept: LIPI

JAKARTA (Antara): Indonesia needs to apply the biosphere reserve concept, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) said.

The biosphere reserve concept could balance the economic and environmental conservation interests toward sustainable development, LIPI Deputy Head Dr. Endang Sukara said in a press statement here on Saturday.

The concept was clearly dedicated to the development of social and economic activities by involving the community as the guards and protectors of the environment, he said.

The biosphere reserve concept could be used as a model in Indonesia to deal with the rapid rate of ecosystem landscape degradation in this country, according to Pr. Sukara, who is concurrently the chairman of the National Man and Biosphere (MAB) program of UNESCO Indonesia.

Indonesia is losing no less than two million hectares of forest area annually due to development activities. The deforestation inflicted to a significant loss of flora and fauna biodiversity, ecosystem and landscape on Earth, especially in Indonesia, he said.

Due to the deforestation, Indonesia also lost opportunities to make scientific discoveries on the potentials of the biological diversity for food, medicines and other industrial and development materials, he said.

Moreover, the people's welfare was also threatened by the environmental degradation.

To date, Indonesia has six biosphere reserves, they are: Gunung Leuser NP (National Park), Siberut Island (including Siberut NP), Cibodas (including Gunung Gede-Pangrango NP), Tanjung Putting NP, Lore Lindu NP and Komodo NP; the latter is also recognized as a natural World Heritage site.

The concept of biosphere reserves was derived from the first intergovernmental conference organized by UNESCO in 1968. Two years later, UNESCO officially launched a Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Program, which is one of its cornerstone programs. (**)
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