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Environmental Threats to Lesser Sunda Islands

8.6S 121.0E

May 22nd, 2012 Category: Snapshots

Indonesia - May 20th, 2012

This image shows several of the Lesser Sunda Islands, a group of islands in the southern Maritime Southeast Asia, north of Australia. The three largest islands visible here are Sumba, Flores and Timor (lower half of image, from left to right). The islands are part of a volcanic arc, the Sunda Arc, formed by subduction along the Java Trench in the Java Sea.

Although most of the vegetation on these islands is dry forest there are patches of rainforest on these islands too, especially in lowland areas and along riverbanks. However, the ecosystem is threatened: more than half of the original vegetation of the islands has been cleared for planting of rice and other crops, for settlement and by consequent forest fires.

While many ecological problems affect both small islands and large landmasses, small islands suffer their particular problems and are highly exposed to external forces. Development pressures on small islands are increasing, although their effects are not always anticipated. Although Indonesia is richly endowed with natural resources, the resources of the small islands of Nusa Tenggara are limited and specialised; furthermore human resources in particular are limited.

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