National Parks in Kalimantan : Is Borneo Still “The Heart of Borneo”?

The island of Kalimantan, or formerly known as Borneo in the literature of Western travelers and anthropologists, has often been referred to as the “lungs of the world.”

Why is that so?

It’s because this third-largest island in the world is a vital source of oxygen. This life-giving element is so crucial to human existence that it has earned the island the nickname “The Heart of Borneo”.

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Kalimantan, the world’s third-largest island covering an area of 743,330 square kilometers, today, it is under the threat of deforestation due to large-scale industrial activities, mining, and extensive plantations, which are increasingly damaging the environment and ecosystems.

If the Heart are damaged, the entire body suffers. That’s why Kalimantan is currently in the spotlight, becoming a center of global attention.

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One of the efforts to preserve and rejuvenate Kalimantan’s “lungs” is by protecting indigenous forests and ancestral lands.

National Parks come second in priority. Their benefit lies in being a natural heritage, yet they lack human inhabitants. Indigenous forests are a natural heritage for and owned by humans.

National Parks are natural conservation areas with original ecosystems managed through zoning systems for various purposes such as research, scientific study, education, cultivation, tourism, and recreation.

National Parks are a type of protected conservation area shielded from human development and pollution, usually by the central government.

National Parks fall under Category II of the World Conservation Union, indicating a certain level of protection. One of the largest national parks is the East Greenland National Park, established since 1974.

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These national parks serve as sanctuaries for valuable natural environments, flora, and fauna, while also providing a source of knowledge and natural beauty for the local community and tourists.

Gunung Palung National Park is located in West Kalimantan Province, covering an area of 90,000 hectares, including mangrove forests, freshwater swamp forests, freshwater peat swamp forests, and mountain forests.

Some of the flora found there include meranti, ulin wood, keruing, and ramin. The fauna living in this national park include orangutans, deer, and junglefowl.

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The number one priority is safeguarding indigenous forests and ancestral lands. National Parks come second. The benefit of National Parks is that they are a natural heritage, but they lack human inhabitants. Indigenous forests are a natural heritage for and owned by humans.

Tanjung Puting National Park is located in the southern part of Central Kalimantan Province and covers an area of 173,330 hectares. The park encompasses various ecosystems, including lowland tropical rainforests, dryland forests, freshwater peat swamp forests, mangrove forests, coastal forests, and secondary forests.

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Among the flora found there are jelutung, ramin, meranti, and ulin wood. Meanwhile, the fauna living in this national park include orangutans, honey bears, clouded leopards, and estuarine crocodiles.

The uniqueness and distinctiveness of Tanjung Puting National Park lie in its rich and diverse ecosystems, especially in terms of biodiversity. One of the main attractions of Tanjung Puting National Park is its large population of orangutans, one of the endangered great ape species. The park provides a vital habitat for orangutans and has been a successful site for orangutan rehabilitation programs conducted by experts and conservation organizations.

Bukit Baka-Bukit Raya National Park is located in the Swener and Muller mountains, at the border of West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan Provinces. The park covers an area of 181,090 hectares and includes tropical rainforests and mountain forests.

Flora found in this area includes jelutung, ramin, meranti, ulin wood, orchids, rattan, and palms. The fauna living in this national park include mouse deer, proboscis monkeys, honey bears, junglefowl, deer, and Sumatran rhinoceros.

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Betung Karimun National Park is situated in the West Kalimantan region and covers an area of 800,000 hectares, including lowland and highland forests. Some of the flora found in this park are jelutung, pandan, mountain pine, and agarwood. The fauna living in this national park include orangutans, deer, and hornbills.

Kayan Mantarang National Park is located in North Kalimantan Province and covers an area of 1,360,900 hectares. The park consists of lowland and mountain forests that are constantly shrouded in thick mist. Flora that grows in this area includes jelutung, meranti, ulin wood, and agarwood. Meanwhile, the fauna living in this national park include orangutans, proboscis monkeys, deer, Kalimantan elephants, clouded leopards, and junglefowl.

Danau Sentarum National Park is situated in West Kalimantan Province and covers an area of 102,000 hectares. The park encompasses the Sentarum Lake from the Sanggau regency to the border with Sarawak, Malaysia.

Flora found in this area includes jelutung, ferns, and wetland plants. The fauna living in this national park include arwana fish, catfish, and various bird species.

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Kutai National Park is located in the Kutai district of East Kalimantan Province, covering an area of 198,629 hectares that includes lowland to highland tropical forests. Some of the flora that grows in this park are mangroves, bakau, jelutung, agarwood, and ulin wood.

Meanwhile, the fauna living in this national park include orangutans, proboscis monkeys, honey bears, clouded leopards, golden deer, Irrawaddy dolphins, and estuarine crocodiles.

Sebangau National Park is situated in Central Kalimantan and covers an area of 568,700 hectares, including the districts of Katingan, Palang Pisau, and Palangkaraya. Flora found in this area includes ramin, meranti, jelutung, dragon’s blood tree, and various orchids.

The fauna living in this national park include orangutans, hornbills, proboscis monkeys, honey bears, clouded leopards, gibbons, long-tailed macaques, and estuarine crocodiles. *)

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