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Biodiversity and Natural Heritage

Indonesia has well-preserved natural ecosystem such as rainforests that stretch over about 57% of Indonesia’s land & about 2% of them are mangrove. One reason why the natural ecosystem in Indonesia is still well-preserved is because only 6,000 islands out of 17,000 are permanently inhabited. Forests on Sumatra and Java are examples of popular destinations. Moreover, Indonesia has one of longest coastlines in the world with a number of beaches and island resorts, such as those in southern Bali, Lombok, Bintan and Nias Island. However, most of the well-preserved beaches are those in more isolated and less developed areas such as Karimunjawa, the Togian Islands, and the Banda Islands.

National Parks

The biggest national park in Indonesia is the 9,500 square kilometers Gunung Leuser National Park in the north of Sumatra Island. Together with Kerinci Seblat National Park and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, the total 25,000 square kilometers of national parks in Sumatra, named Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Other national parks on the list are Lorentz National Park in Papua, Komodo National Park in the Lesser Sunda Islands and Ujung Kulon National Park in the west of Java.

Lorentz National Park Komodo National Park Ujung Kulon

Different national parks offer different biodiversity, as natural habitat in Indonesia is divided into two areas by the Wallace line. The Wallacea bio-geographical distinction means the western part of Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan) have the same flora and fauna characteristics as the Asian continent, whilst the remaining eastern part of Indonesia has similarity with the Australian continent.

Many native species such as Sumatran elephants, Sumatran tigers, Sumatran rhinoceros, Javan rhinoceros and Orangutans are listed as endangered or critically endangered, and the remaining populations are found in national parks and other conservation areas. Orangutans can be visited in the Bukit Lawang conservation area. The world’s largest flower, Rafflesia Arnoldi, and the tallest flower, titan arum, can be found in Sumatra.

The east side of the Wallacea line offers the most remarkable, rarest, and exotic animals on earth. Birds of Paradise, locally known as Cenderawasih, are plumed birds that can be found among other fauna in Papua New Guinea. The largest bird in Papua is the flightless cassowary. One species of lizard, the Komodo Dragon can easily be found on Komodo, located in the Nusa Tenggara lesser islands region. Besides Komodo Island, this endangered species can also be found on the islands of Rintja, Padar and Flores.

Volcanoes

Hiking and camping in the mountains are popular adventure activities. Some mountains contain Ridge Rivers, offering rafting activity. Though volcanic mountains can be dangerous, they have become major tourist destinations. Popular active volcanoes are the 2,329 m high Mount Bromo in the East Java province with its little desert, the upturned boat shaped Tangkuban Perahu on the outskirts of Bandung, the most active volcano in Java, Mount Merapi and the legendary Krakatau with its new caldera known as anak krakatau (the child of Krakatau). Puncak Jaya in the Lorentz National Park, the highest mountain in Indonesia and the only mountain with ice caps, offers the opportunity of rock climbing. In Sumatra, there are the remains of a supervolcano eruption that have created the landscape of Lake Toba close to Medan in North Sumatra.

Mount Merapi Mount Krakatao
Mount Merapi Mount Krakatau

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