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An Indonesian tropical forest with the highest level of lowland forest plant biodiversity known to science could be lost within four years if the current rate of logging continues, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

A study by WWF scientists shows that the 1,800-square-kilometre Tesso Nilo forest in Sumatra contains up to 218 plant species in a single 200-square-metre area.

That is almost twice as high as the number found elsewhere in Sumatra and is also much higher than other humid, tropical lowland forests in 19 other countries, including Brazil, Cameroon, New Guinea and Peru.

But the WWF says that illegal logging, both by small-scale loggers and an international corporation, is threatening the forest.

“We urge the government of Indonesia to act now and set aside the Tesso Nilo forest as a protected area for the good of future generations,” says Agus Purnomo, executive director of WWF-Indonesia.

WWF Report: Vegetation Survey and Habitat Assessment of the Tesso Nilo Forest Complex (Size: 2.2 MB)
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