Indonesia’s 17,000 islands are home to nearly 250 million people.
From these islands’ forests, farms and surrounding oceans, people receive food, a stable climate — even joy.
But Indonesia is developing very, very quickly. The country’s response to this development will determine the fate of its abundant natural wealth — and the people who depend on it.
Why is Indonesia important?
Indonesia contains the most extensive standing rainforests in all of Asia, with an estimated 94 million hectares (232 million acres) of forest cover — an area the size of Nigeria. These trees release oxygen into the air and remove harmful particles. They also absorb gases, like carbon dioxide, that cause changes in our climate.
Joy and inspiration
Visitors from across the world flock to Indonesia to see its charismatic native species — such as orangutans, Sumatran tigers, Komodo dragons, whale sharks, sea turtles and manta rays. The country’s incredible rainforests and coral reefs make it one of the top adventure and dive destinations in the world.
Food we eat
Indonesia’s lands and waters make the country a major producer of foods that Indonesians, as well as people around the world, eat every day: seafood, rice, coffee, cocoa, cassava, peanuts and spices like nutmeg. It is also the world’s largest producer of palm oil, an edible vegetable oil found in half of the packaged goods on supermarket shelves.
What are the issues?
Indonesia’s marine resources face threats from land and coastal development as well as from overfishing and unsustainable fish farming. Warming waters and pollution threaten the country’s coral reef ecosystems and the many benefits they provide, including biodiversity, tourism and shoreline protection.
Indonesia is home to the world's third-largest area of rainforest. After rising for many years, deforestation rates in Indonesia hit a record low in 2020. Maintaining this trend will require diligent planning and collaboration across all stakeholders and sectors.
Pollution is a major challenge in Indonesia, particularly in the country’s cities, with large and growing populations, unsustainable infrastructure and unintegrated waste management. Air quality is of particular concern, while high volumes of plastic waste end up in the ocean, threatening marine life.
Conservation International is working to create and strengthen marine protected areas (MPAs) throughout Indonesia. By protecting Indonesia’s seas and coasts, we can help to ensure they remain a sustainable source of food and tourism revenue. We also work closely with the business community, which has a large impact on the environment in Indonesia. Our partner companies have committed to improving their business practices or helping conservation efforts. Together, we can create a new approach to economic development that is both environmentally and socially sustainable.
© CI/photo by Ade Budi Kurniawan
© Will Turner
What can you do?
You can make a difference to people all over the world by helping to protect globally important ecosystems, like Indonesia’s Bird’s Head Seascape or Northern Sumatra forests.
Support companies and products that use eco-friendly raw materials (such as sustainable palm oil) and contribute to a healthier planet.
Drink sustainable coffee
You can purchase coffee, a staple crop in Indonesia, that's ethically sourced and environmentally friendly.
Spread the word
Tell the world that protecting Indonesia's forests and marine environments benefits us all.