Threatened Biodiversity Hotspots in Indonesia

Conservation on the megadiverse Indonesian archipelago. An ambitious programme of seed conservation, plant extinction assessments and research on the ecology, conservation and use of Indonesia’s native flora.

Waterfall in a forest from above
Project Leader

Kate Hardwick

Indonesian Project Leader

Dian Latifah, Research Center for Plant Conservation and Botanic Gardens


Indonesia is one of the megadiverse countries of the world, encompassing two biodiversity hotspots (Sundaland and Wallacea) and one tropical forest wilderness (the island of New Guinea). It has been described as “a key country in the increasing global efforts to preserve genetic, species and ecosystem diversity” (de Haes, C., 1992).  

Its extraordinary biodiversity is partly due to its unusual geological position at the meeting point between three major tectonic plates – the Eurasian, the Filipino and the Australian. It is an archipelago of over 17,000 islands, and this geographical factor has contributed to an exceptionally high level of species endemism – that is, species found nowhere else on Earth.

However, Indonesia’s huge population growth and rapid economic development have put this biodiversity at great risk, leading to a vast expansion of agriculture, plantations and timber and mineral extraction, resulting in a net loss of 684,000 ha/year of forest area between 2010 and 2015, second only to Brazil (FAO, 2015). Burning of land, especially for rice production and new rubber and oil palm plantations, has led to widespread fires.

Indonesia is addressing these risks through an ambitious integrated programme of in situ and ex situ conservation, which includes a network of protected areas covering over 2 million hectares and a new national seed bank at the Research Center for Plant Conservation and Botanic Gardens.

In 2017, Kew began working with the Research Center for Plant Conservation and Botanic Gardens (CPCBG) alongside a network of national botanic gardens within the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI). Together with these partner organisations Kew will work to successfully deliver the Threatened Biodiversity Hotspots Programme in Indonesia. 


de Haes, C., 1992. Foreword. In, Wild Indonesia, by T. Whitten & J. Whitten. New Holland, London.
FAO, 2015. Forest Global Resources Assessment 2015.


The Indonesian project is part of the international Threated Biodiversity Hotspots Programme funded by the Arcadia Fund and coordinated by the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK. Over 5,000 species from five global biodiversity hotspots will be seed-banked to ensure long-term conservation and provide seeds for research, reintroduction and use by future generations. As part of the programme, RBG Kew will be working in Indonesia with CPCBG to collect and bank seed of at least 1000 native species over three years. 

The project is led by Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank Partnership and together with the Global Tree Seed Bank Project marks the initial phase of the Indonesian Seed Bank Programme, which aims to develop a national seed conservation programme for Indonesia. This initial phase will focus on plant conservation in parts of the Sundaland Biodiversity Hotspot (Sumatra, Java and Bali) and will be delivered through seed collecting and research sub-projects overseen by CPCBG. As part of the Threatened Biodiversity Hotspots Programme Kew will conduct 150 plant conservation assessments on Indonesian native trees, support LIPI botanic garden staff to create a research programme on the ecology, conservation and use of Indonesia’s native flora and continue capacity building within LIPI and in other regions of Indonesia. This programme, will in turn, contribute to a global programme of ex situ plant conservation delivered by the network of seed banks in the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership.

  • Seed collections: Seeds of 1,011 species will be banked
  • Data Management: Field and processing data on all collections will be shared via the MSBP’s Data Warehouse
  • Conservation assessments on the tree flora of Indonesia 
  • Research on the ecology, conservation and use of Indonesia’s native flora 
  • Capacity Building: Raising seed conservation standards within the Indonesian seed bank and expand to other regions of Indonesia in preparation for Phases 2-4

Research Center for Plant Conservation and Botanic Gardens, part of the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI)

Yellow arcadia logo

Arcadia - a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.