Written by Yohanes Prahara (BNF’s Content Creator)
Indonesia is situated in the tropics, therefore, has a lot of tropical rain forests, in which there are thousands of exotic animal species. However, some of these species are almost extinct due to habitat damage and loss.
One of the provinces in Indonesia has a wealth of biodiversity in Central Kalimantan. The Sebangau and Rungan landscapes, in particular, host many endemic species of flora and fauna, some of which are almost extinct.
Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF) researcher, Namrata Anirudh said that “a lot of flora and fauna only exist in the Kerangas ecosystem. Therefore, it is very important to preserve the Kerangas region for the conservation of biodiversity, endangered species, and ironwood forests”.
Namrata explained that the Rungan Landscape area is a mixed mosaic forest structure, with five habitat sub-types described in the Rungan forest, identified using the habitat plots established during the fieldwork. These forest types include black soil forest, white soil forest, low swamp forest, mixed swamp forest and riverine forest.
“Mixed mosaic forest structure combines different habitat types in one landscape. Inside there are a variety of animals, ranging from animals that live in a particular native habitat and those that range across the mosaic,” she said.
The Rungan Landscape is home to a substantial number of species. According to the database of flora and fauna by BNF, there are:
- 76 mammals – 8% are endangered; 2.7% critically endangered; 12% endemic
- 219 birds – 0.5% are endangered; 0.9% critically endangered; 1.9% endemic
- 22 reptiles and amphibians – 9.1% are endangered; 4.5% critically endangered
- 31 fish – 16% are endemic to Borneo
- 105 trees – 2% are endangered; 2% critically endangered; 2% endemic to Borneo
Amazingly, there are all 5 types of Bornean wild cats living in the Rungan Landscape, the Bornean bay cat – (Catopuma badia) which is the first record of the bay cat in mosaic heath/peat swamp forest, Bornean clouded leopard – (Neofelis diardi borneensis), Marbled cat – (Pardofelis marmorata), Leopard cat – (Prionailurus bengalensis), and Flat headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps).
In the Rungan Landscape there are also 5 types of Pitcher plants (Nepenthes), including; Nepenthes ampullaria, Nepenthes aracilis, Nepenthes hookeriana, Nepenthes reinwardtiana, Nepenthes rafflesiana, and 13 types of Orchid.
9 types of animals recorded by BNF are listed as endangered, 6 of these are endangered species and 3 are critically endangered species. The endangered species include; Proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus), Bornean bay cat (Catopuma badia), Flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps), Owa-Owa / Bornean agile / white-bearded gibbon (Hylobates albibarbis), Berang-berang / Hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana), Berang-berang / Otter civet (Cynogale bennettii). The 3 critically endangered species are; Rangkong / Helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil), Trenggiling / Sunda Pangolin (Manis Javanica), Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus).
For the Dayak community, the Rungan Landscape has a high cultural value, because it has a sacred Ulin (Ironwood) Forest that is still very much preserved. Ironwood also has economic value for the Dayak community. Subsequently, BNF is trying to encourage the Ulin Forest to become listed as a protected area.
BNF also strives to protect the Rungan Landscape for the sake of preserving the biodiversity within it. BNF’s goal is to protect over 140,000ha of forests in Rungan Landscape, which supports 2,220 – 3,275 orangutans, the second-largest unprotected population in Borneo.