Main Points:
  • Decline in Environmental Prosperity
  • Overfishing and Pollution
  • Habitat Destruction

Poor Infrastructure and Overfishing Hampering Tuna Industry in Indonesia
Poor Infrastructure and Overfishing Hampering Tuna Industry in Indonesia

The environmental issues plaguing the Minangkabau society, as well as the Indonesian society as a whole, have caused a decline in the quality of the environment for not only the people of the society, but also the animals and plant species that inhabit the area. Over time, similar to the actions of many countries and societies around the world, Indonesia has become more industrialized and continues to depend on agriculture (Minangkabau society focuses a lot on agriculture) as a major part of its industry. Although new technology and improved agricultural techniques have allowed for greater production and economic stimulation, these practices have become increasingly harmful to the environment.

Some of the most prevalent issues in Indonesia, as well as on a smaller scale throughout Minangkabau society, deforestation, overfishing and pollution have caused a change in the environmental stability of the area after years of degradation and destruction (Mongabay). Deforestation, the process in which trees are removed from an area to allow for agricultural or industrial development, has become a predominant practice throughout Minangkabau society to allow for increased agricultural production. Not only does deforestation increase habitat loss for endangered species and loss of resources for forest people, it also increases the rate of soil erosion and nutrient depletion. The largest downfall to deforestation for agriculture comes after the forest is cleared. Nutrients which were once held into the soil by roots and other small plants are now loosely merged into the soil and usually get washed away after a few rainstorms. These large areas that were once thriving with plant and animal life become completely unusable for agriculture and cannot be “re-forested (Putatunda).”

Deforestation on the Island of Sumatra, Indonesia
Deforestation on the Island of Sumatra, Indonesia

The Minangkabau society, as well as the entire Indonesian society, is a huge fishing center of the world. Three quarters of Indonesian territory is ocean, but the country now imports most of its fish. This may seem extremely bizarre and unexplainable considering the majority of the territory is comprised of the ocean, but over-fishing practices have depleted the fish populations that were once native to the oceans surrounding Indonesia (Raharjo). Abdullah Habibie, a fish activist from the World Wildlife Fund, stated, “Most of the oceans in Indonesia are fully exploited and overfished. 74 percent of our stock is overexploited. Fishing nets that have very small mesh size are used and baby fish are caught before they can reproduce. So the possibility to have a sustainable fishery is low (WWF).” This news is extremely discouraging and should encourage the people of Indonesia to take an active role in reducing their negative impact on the environment.


Environmental problems in Indonesia. WWF. Web. Nov. 16 2012. <>.

Minangkabau - Environmental Concerns. Mongabay Environmental News. Web. Nov. 14 2012.

Putatunda, Rita. Causes and Effects of Deforestation. Web. Nov. 15 2012. <>.

Raharjo, Ikhsan. Over-Fishing Crisis in Indonesia. Web. Nov. 14 2012. <>.