Land and Resources, Natural Resources
Bukit Barisan Selatan, Kerinci Seblat, Ujung Kulon, Gunung Leuser, Tanjung Puting
Volcanic ash creates rich soil that is ideal for growing crops, but large areas of Indonesia cannot be cultivated because of swamps, soil erosion, or steep slopes.
Tropical forests cover 55 percent of the land, although this proportion has been shrinking due to deforestation. Trees of the Dipterocarp family, such as the meranti, are a valuable forest resource. Also important are ramin, sandalwood, ebony, and teak. Teak in particular is grown in plantation forests. The government has established many national parks to conserve the natural vegetation and native wildlife. Indonesia claims that little or no commercial development is permitted in about half its forests. The more important national parks include Gunung Leuser (in northwestern Sumatra), Kerinci Seblat (in central Sumatra), Bukit Barisan Selatan (in southern Sumatra), Ujung Kulon (in western Java), Tanjung Puting (in central Kalimantan), and Komodo Island (between Sumbawa and Flores).
Indonesia has significant deposits of oil and natural gas, most of which are concentrated along the eastern coast of Sumatra and in and around Kalimantan. Indonesia produces more than 80 percent of Southeast Asia’s oil and more than 35 percent of the world’s liquefied gas. Tin on Belitung and Bangka islands, bauxite on Bintan Island, copper in Papua, nickel on Sulawesi, and coal on Sumatra are Indonesia’s major mineral resources. Small amounts of silver, gold, diamonds, and rubies are also found. Large parts of Indonesia, especially in Kalimantan and Papua, have not been intensively explored for minerals. The seas surrounding Indonesia yield abundant saltwater fish, pearls, shells, and agar (a substance extracted from seaweed).
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