|Photo by Luke Mackin|
The Importance of Wetlands
|Map of Sumatra's Welands from here.|
|White Throated Kingfisher/Cekaka Beluka|
(Halcyon smyrnensis) photo by Luke Mackin
Wetlands in Indonesia (and Southeast Asia in general) face a number of threats. As I mentioned earlier, wetlands have historically been viewed as areas for conversion and expansion, and large-scale draining of wetlands in Malaysia and Singapore began in the 1930s. Inland swamps are drained to become agricultural fields or residential areas, whereas coastal wetlands are converted to aquaculture, most notably shrimp farms. In recent years sea-level rise associated with global warming has been recognized as an additional threat. Many wetland areas in Indonesia are susceptible to rising seas, as you can see from the map below.
|Map from CI:GRASP|
|Don't forget to write!|
If you'd like to visit Rawa Bento, you can arrange a tour including transportation through the Kerinci Birdwatching Club (KBC), which I've mentioned in this blog in the past and will dedicate a full post to next week. The advantage of going with KBC is that they can tell you all about the wildlife of the swamp as well as its history. In addition, money earned through activities such as this help KBC fund bird conservation efforts.
(1) One interesting aspect of this case is that the regency officials framed the issue to portray the park as an impediment to development, suggesting that the park sabotaged the conversion project. One wonders why the regency leadership didn't simply make a call to the regency planning office (or even the park) to ask whether the proposed area fell within the park or not.