Wallacea area possesses a very rich biodiversity. It has a variety of flora and a unique endemicity of fauna. This area is a home for 560 endangered species in Indonesia. The largest lizard in the world, Komodo, can only be found in the islands of Komodo, Padar, Rinca, and Flores in Wallacea area. The uniqueness of its endemic birds is not found in other parts of the world. Unfortunately, this wealth holds a big threat.
On land, the threat to Wallacea's biodiversity arises from land conversion as well as degradation and fragmentation; at sea, overexploitation is a major threat to some species. In addition, indirectly, many problems regarding the regulation of spatial development have caused the threat to biodiversity in this area to increase.
To protect Wallacea from the threat of damage, on 1st June 2013 the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) program began to examine the ecological and socio-economic aspects of this area by compiling a profile of Wallacea's critical and vulnerable ecosystems. Burung Indonesia acted as the implementing team for compiling the ecosystem profile with BirdLife International, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Samdhana Institute, and the Center for the Study of Coastal and Ocean Resources, Bogor Agricultural University.
The ecosystem profile was aimed to become a benchmark to find out which types and areas are most vulnerable to damage, so that development planning can prioritize an environmentally friendly perspective. To apply the criteria for an important area or corridor, the ecosystem profiling team first identified key biodiversity areas (KBA) based on the consideration of the unique flora and fauna in them, the level of threat, and the importance of the area for the lives of local people.
The final KBA list consisted of 251 terrestrial KBAs, with 105 KBAs in the Lesser Sunda region (82 in Nusa Tenggara and 23 in Timor Leste), 95 KBAs in Sulawesi and 51 KBAs in Maluku. Meanwhile, there are 140 marine KBAs that have been identified based on locality records for globally threatened species. In order to maintain the ecological and evolutionary processes, the team defined a number of corridors as species-specific landscapes that depend on large habitat areas or home ranges.
In December 2014, CEPF appointed Burung Indonesia as the regional implementation team for the conservation program in Wallacea. Not long ago, in 2015, a grant worth IDR 50 billion was disbursed to civil society organizations to carry out conservation activities in Wallacea for five years. Apart from conservation action, this program also aimed to encourage poverty alleviation and develop a sustainable community economy.
Ilustrasi: Arief Indrawan/Burung Indonesia
Ecosystem profiling teams did not work alone. Local governments, communities, business people, and civil society organizations in Wallacea took part in providing inputs for designing the profile. At the national level, the governments of Indonesia and Timor-Leste also contributed in the process and analysis of the conservation action targets through the support of relevant government agencies and ministries.
The Wallacea ecosystem profile then became one of the instruments so that the formulation of regulations regarding spatial development at both local and national levels can synergize with conservation actions in this area. Prior to the publication of this profile, the availability of data on the biodiversity landscape in the Wallacea Region was inadequate.
The publication of this article is part of a series of publications celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Burung Indonesia. On every 15th of every month in 2017, we will publish various articles about the best achievements that Burung Indonesia has achieved during 15 years of working at the home for 1769 bird species: Indonesia.