Written by Petricia A. Hutasoit (BNF education staff)
Recently I went to Mungku Baru village, I joined the monthly Rungan Team expedition to Special Purpose Forest ‘KHDTK’ (Kawasan Hutan dengan Tujuan Khusus). Since it is my first experience going there, I feel that this forest is quite different compared to Sebangau National Park peat-swamp forest.
Spending most of my field works in Sebangau has somehow brought me a sense of familiarity with this peat-swamp forest. During intense rain, the peat ground is very wet and the water level is high. On the forest floor, the water can be as high as the knee or even the waist of an adult. One should walk very carefully on the peatland if s/he doesn’t want to get trapped in the peat hole. On the other hand, the KHDTK forest is not the same. It is comprised of three distinct forest areas that include peat-swamp, fresh-water swamp, dry lowland forest. KHDTK is Kerangas forest, the trees are taller with hilly track compared to the flat route in Sebangau. To arrive at the KHDTK forest, I had to struggle walking over one and a half miles, while I just need to take the boat crossing the black river less than 15 minutes to reach Sebangau forest.
Above all, I’m so happy I could learn another type of forest, what came to my attention was the track is so different. Because it’s a mixed forest, the biodiversity must have been diverse. While In the walking with Rungan Team, Nity explained everything to me and answered any question I asked every time the questions popped into my mind. In the middle of our walk, she showed me a seed, but it looks really weird, I have never seen such a seed like that, it has wings! Yes, wings.
When I saw it for the first time, I just remember golden snitch from Harry Potter movie, a small golden ball with wings in the Quidditch game. It has caught my eyes, I thought it was small, but I ended up being wrong since I got the bigger one as I kept walking. Nity told me that we could throw it into the air then it would spin with its ‘wings’ before it falls to the ground. I tried it and I’m so amazed, I found a ‘snitch’ in the forest. Nity said it is dipterocarpus/Dipterocarpaceae species, the seed has wings, I thought it only has 2 wings and I was wrong again, there are another species that has 3 wings, even more! Wow!
Dipterocarpus/Dipterocarpaceae or locally known as Keruing is a species of a big tree, it’s a high tree and has a big trunk, people usually use it for livelihood. The special thing about dipterocarpus is the wings. These wings resemble the leaves that could make the seed fly far from the host tree then fall down to the ground and grow in another part of the forest.