INDONESIA - The government will be issuing a list of invasive alien species in the country following the rapid decline of local biodiversity due to the spread of imported species, introduced throughout the country via tourism and free trade.
"The species from other countries have caused a decline in Indonesia's native species. We think it's urgent to issue the list to protect our local biodiversity," deputy assistant at the biodiversity and damaged land control unit of the Environment Ministry, Antung Deddy Radiansyah, said during a public hearing on Wednesday.
The list, which includes prohibited plants, animals and organisms, comprises 53 species in the agricultural sector, 99 species in the forestry sector and 112 species in the maritime and fisheries sector.
He said that up to 70 per cent of Indonesia's original species, including plants and animals, had been displaced by the invasive species, which were able to reproduce in their new habitat and, in some cases, dominate and eliminate the native species.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), invasive alien species are animals, plants or other organisms introduced by man into places out of their natural range of distribution.
Moreover, invasive alien species can harm the economy as well as health.
Antung cited the Baluran National Park in Situbondo, East Java, where exotic Acacia trees (Acacia nilotica) had invaded the land. "This plant occupies more than 50 per cent of the land and it is now replacing the original savanna in Baluran and threatening the indigenous Banteng Java buffalo," he said.
Besides Acacia trees, an ornamental plant known as the Blue Mist Flower (Eupatorium sordidum), which originates from Mexico, is now threatening endemic plants at the Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park, the park's coordinator, Ardi Andono, said.