Because of Bali's dense population and high carrying capacity, the destruction wrought by deforestation is not surprising. Today about 19% of Bali consists of forests, and efforts are underway to reforest (reboisasi) 39,000 hectares to bring that percentage up to the perceived ideal of 30%.
Commercial tree plantations-coconut palms, eucalyptus, teak-are found only in the 77,000-hectare Bali Barat National Park, the one area that Bali's original flora has been left intact and secure. Buffer areas around the park have been established by the government to protect it from exploitation by firewood cutters.
The problem of erosion was recognized as far back as the 1930s, when the Dutch observed that growing population pressure had shrunk the island's forest cover to 13% of its previous total area and that the spread of ravines from runoff threatened cultivated land.
In 1934 the Dutch restricted any further clearing of riverbanks and encouraged the cultivation of bamboo thickets, aren sugar palms and other perennials. Under the weight of its population, Bali's infrastructure is strained to the breaking point.
To satisfy the requirements of the populous Badung Regency, water from the Ayung River is being taken from Peraupan with the result that farmers in the Krobokan area are forced to wait much longer to get water to their fields.
A study commissioned by Gajah Mada University predicted that by the year 2000 the average water needs of Bali will reach 73% of the total water supply.
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