The peninsula's islands are home to three-quarters of a million people, many of whom have ancestral ties to the sea going back thousands of years.


Indonesia is a vast, beautiful country — at a critically important crossroads.

© CI/Sterling Zumbrunn
Map of Indonesia

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?

Climate stability

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?

95% coral reefs threatened

Exploited seas

Indonesia’s marine resources have been heavily impacted by poorly planned coastal development, overfishing and unsustainable “fish farming” practices. These local factors, plus the global threat of ocean acidification, has put 95% of Indonesia’s coral reefs under serious threat — also threatening the benefits, like fish and shoreline protection, they give to people.

25% forests lost since 1990


Since 1990, Indonesia has lost nearly a quarter of its forests; at current rates, it could lose all remaining forests by 2056. Many of these forests have been turned into rubber, oil palm and pulp plantations. This economic activity provides people with short-term income, but it also accelerates greenhouse gas emissions and harms the forests Indonesians depend on.

27 'good air' days each year


Indonesia's big cities are struggling to cope with air pollution from growing numbers of people, vehicles and construction projects. By one estimate, residents of Jakarta get only 27 days of clean air each year. And in industrial areas, unprocessed waste from factories is sometimes dumped in rivers, causing environmental damage and creating unhealthy living conditions.

Our solutions

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.

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.



Shop smart

Support companies and products that use eco-friendly raw materials (such as sustainable palm oil) and contribute to a healthier planet.

© Matt Oldfield

Drink sustainable coffee

You can purchase coffee, a staple crop in Indonesia, that's ethically sourced and environmentally friendly.

© Trond Larsen
© Will Turner

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