MOST THREATENED MOUNTAINS IN THE WORLD
With the density of 1.121 people/km2, Java has become the most populous island in the world. The fast demographic and economic growth has surely affecting the nature including mountain regions. Mountains in Java are considered to be the most inhabited mountain in the world, leaving the natural area and the wildlife under an enormous threat. These fragile ecosystems have experienced huge lost of their natural areas due to land use changing mostly for human settlements, agricultural land and public infrastructures, pushing away natural habitat to higher elevation. Illegal hunting is also contributing the the fast population decrease of mountain wildlife.In Addition, for the past decade, increasing human activities on tourism has also put additional problem on habitat disturbance, solid waste and water and soil pollution. The signs of degrading mountain ecosystem have emerged including human-wildlife conflicts, soil erosion, flood and water scarcity. These effects are amplified with the climate change that intensifies forest fires occurrence and extreme precipitation on mountain regions.
Increasing pressure from mass tourism
Natural and cultural attractions of mountain has never been better on capturing people’s interest in Java. For the past 5 years, travelling to the mountainous regions has become an increasing trend to spend weekend holiday, inviting thousands of visitors to visit mountain each week. Transforming agricultural field into resort and restaurant has become normal, air pollution from the explosion of the number of cars is casual and multiplied water consumption during the period is demanded. In the end of holiday, piles of tons of garbage are left in the mountain (short review here).
Increasing garbage volume
The garbage are scattered on the mountain (trekking trek), attraction sites and near human settlement. Only small percentage of this garbage are actually get relocated ti the nearest city’s landfill downhill, most of them are inappropriately handled, either get buried or burnt, considerable amount of the garbage are openly left in the environment and we have never heard about recycle story of mountain waste. The remoteness of mountain area has repeatedly mentioned to be the bottleneck of having a proper management. It elevates the cost and the efforts to properly handle the waste. Mountain waste is a global issue, but just internationally got acknowledged recently. You can read THIS to check the global review of mountain waste issue
Bird is the most hunted animal in Java. Javanese culture of having songbird as a pet has pushed many bird species to the jaw of extinction. Most of the songbird also come from mountain region. Pangolin, Muntjac deer, wild boars and Javan Leopard are also frequent victim in this hunting regime. Economic motive is the main driver of this illegal practice. Not only animal, plant species is also a target. Wild orchid is the most threatened species so far by illegal hunting practice
Signs of degrading ecosystem
We are getting more often to read about wildlife-human conflict in Java. Most of the cases are Javan Leopard entering the nearby village and killing local livestock (West Java review here and example here). Wild boar frequently reported destroying forest-edged agricultural field (example here). Degraded habitat and increasing population might explain the phenomenon. In addition, land avalanche and flood are also getting more frequent hitting the nearby human settlements. Drastic land use change and extreme precipitation elevate the risks (example here). The affected areas are not only on the mountain region but also downstream areas.