Indonesia is a country situated in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific Ocean. Indonesia is the largest Island country in the world. It is comprised of more than thirteen thousand islands. The nation has a land area of 735, 350 square miles. Indonesia’s vast land area consists of a variety of ecological regions. Some of the ecological regions are Borneo montane rain forests, Buru rain forests, Lesser Sundas deciduous forests, New Guinea mangroves, Sumatran freshwater swamp forests, and Sumba deciduous forests.
Ecological Regions Of Indonesia
Borneo Montane Rain Forest
Borneo montane rain forest is an ecological region comprised of cloud forest and laurel forest. The region has the richest rain forests in the world. It hosts 155 endemic tropical tree species and an additional 112 species that were introduced into the area. The trees forms the tropical cloud forests with canopies as high as (24m-36m) above the ground. The region is home to distinct animals such as the rare Hose's civet, orangutan, squirrels, langurs, and rats. Emergent tree species grow as high as 65 meters above the ground. The landscape is covered with limestone, sedimentary rocks, and volcanic rocks. It experiences tropical wet climate and a monthly rainfall of over 200mm. The region experiences threats from forest fires, illegal logging, and human encroachment.
Biak–Numfoor Rain Forest
Biak–Numfoor rain forest ecoregion is comprised of the island Biak, Supiori, and Numfoor. It experiences tropical wet climate. The region supports more than 100 bird species of which 16 species are endemic to the area. Some of the birds in Biak–Numfoor rain forest are tree kingfishers, Numfor paradise kingfisher, Biak coucal, spice imperial-pigeon, yellow-bibbed Fruit-dove and Geelvink pygmy parrot. The region hosts 29 mammal species which include Biak naked-backed fruit bat, Giant naked-tailed rat, Biak glider, and Japan rat. Butterflies and insects are also found in the region. Biak–Numfoor rain forest has suffered from excessive cutting down of trees. Biak Island which is highly populated has experienced much of the deforestation. Bird species are also threatened by collectors. Biak–Numfoor rain forest has two protected areas that preserve the plants and animals in the area.
Kinabalu Montane Alpine Meadows
Kinabalu montane ecological region is unique due to its isolation from other regions. It supports more than 5,000 plant species, 326 bird species, and 100 mammal species. The vegetation varies from small plants such as ferns, lichens, liverworts, dwarf shrubs, and mosses to orchids and fig trees found at higher elevations. The variety of vegetation accommodates a broad range of animals like the black shrew, ferret-badger, Malayan weasel, and leopard cat. Additionally, different bird species inhabit the area including the rhinoceros hornbill, mountain serpent eagle, and the eyebrowed jungle flycatcher. Most of the wildlife and vegetation in the region is intact; however, logging poses a threat to the endemic plants and animals in Kinabalu Mountain. Kinabalu Park was established in 1964 to keep off illegal loggers and preserve the eco-region.
New Guinea Mangroves
The ecoregion has the world’s richest diversity of mangrove species. The mangroves ecological region has environmental importance as it acts as a ‘natural cleanser.' The mangroves prevent floating objects from reaching deep waters which could be harmful to marine life. The mangroves also minimize coastal erosion and provide stopovers to migratory birds, fish, and mammals. The mangrove forests are inhabited by birds like Wallace's fruit-dove, Papuan Swiftlet, and the Salvadori's fig parrot. In past two decades, approximately 35% of the mangroves in the eco-region have been cut down mainly for firewood. Mangroves exist in a limited ecosystem and are therefore delicate species. Conservation efforts are being taken to preserve the mangroves including tree planting.
Threats To The Ecoregions Of Borneo
Indonesia has the second richest biodiversity in the world after Brazil. The nation’s archipelagic location allows for the diversity of ecological regions as well as wildlife. The country has the highest number of endemic species. Loss of habitat is the greatest threat to the endemic species of Indonesia. Conservation measures are needed to stop the loss of the valuable vegetation and wildlife.