Consulate of Indonesia
Yerevan, Armenia
Israyelyan Street, Bld. 37/147
0015 Yerevan, Armenia
Tel: + 374 10 528825
Fax:+ 374 10 565669
E-mail: [email protected]
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INDONESIA, the largest archipelago in the world to form a single state consists of five main islands and some 30 smaller archipelagoes, totalling about 17,508 islands and islets of which about 6,000 are inhabited. Indonesia’s national territory consists 84% of sea and 16% of land. The Indonesian sea area is four times larger than its land area, which is about 1.9 million and the sea area is about 7.9 million sq km. The five biggest islands are Kalimantan or two thirds of the island of Borneo (539,450; Sumatera (473,606; Papua, which forms part of the island of New Guinea (421,952, Sulawesi (189,035 and Java including Madura (132,035
The name "INDONESIA" is composed of the two Greek words: "Indos" meaning India, and "Nesos" meaning islands. The Indonesian archipelago forms a crossroad between two oceans, the Pacific and Indian oceans and a bridge between two continents, Asia and Australia. Because of its strategic position, therefore, Indonesia 's cultural, social, political and economic patterns have always been conditioned by its geographical position.
The greater part of the country falls with in the boundaries of the equatorial rain belt. It has characteristically a tropical climate. Its geographical make up is an archipelago of mostly small island surrounded by sea. However, it allows an active air circulation. As a result, the climate is closely similar to that of prevailing in the equatorial zones above the world’s oceans. Abundant rainfall, high temperatures and humidity are characteristic to the average Indonesian lowland climate. The lowest average temperature is 18 degree Celsius. Moreover, the proximity of the Asian and Australian Continents brings the Indonesian archipelago well within the Asian characteristic that keeps alternating in accordance with the seasons. The trade and monsoon winds coming from the Indian and Pacific oceans temper the tropical character of the climate.
In Indonesia only two seasons prevail, a dry and wet, or rainy season. In most areas, the rainy season lasts from December up to March and driy season from May to October, with the transition periods characterized by shifting winds and capricious weather occuring in the months of March to May and September to November. The transitional period between these two seasons alternates between gorgeous sun-filled days and occasional thunderstorms. Even in the midst of the wet season temperature could range from 21 degrees (70 degrees Fahrenheit) to 33 degrees Celsius (90 degreed Fahrenheit), except at higher altitudes, which can be much cooler. The heaviest rainfall is usually recorded in December and January each year.
Within the Indonesian archipelago lies one of the most remarkable zoogeographical boundaries in the world, which dates back to the glacial period when the sea level fell worldwide. In that glacial period, Java, Sumatra, and Kalimantan lay on the Sunda self and were joined to each other and to the mainland of Asia, but Papua and the Australian continent at that time lay on the Sahul shelf. This original geographical segregation explains why the typical oriental fauna species found in Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan are completely lacking in Papua. Similarly, the marsupials, which occur in Papua, are not found in the Oriental Region.
The region between these two shelves (Maluku, Sulawesi and the Lesser Sunda Islands) has another type of fauna. The bulk of Oriental fauna does not occur in Sulawesi, although it is only 50 km from Kalimantan across the Makassar strait, and the islands, such as Seram and Halmahera, closest to Papua lack the major part of the latter's fauna. This may be on the account of the ancient presence of a deep strait between Kalimantan and Sulawesi and the depth of the Banda Sea so that this group of islands may never have been connected with either shelves during the glacial period. Scientists describe this situation in terms of three faunal lines: Wallace's (a line drawn from south to north through Lombok and Makassar straits, ending at the southeast of the Philippines), Weber's (a line drawn and passing through the sea between Maluku and Sulawesi) and Lydekker’s ( a line drawn at the edge of the Sahul shelf, which skirts the western border of Papua and the Australian continent)- although some of them prefer to characterize the zone itself as a "subtractible-transition zone”.
Information obtained from the paleontological record reveals that the number of species known today is much smaller in the past. The extinction of many species of animals was probably due to normal ecological and evolutionary processes related to such factors as shifting sea levels, climatic changes and habitat alternations. For example, in Java, out of at least 75 species of mammals known as fossils, 35 are extinct, 20 still survive and 20 are extinct in Java but found elsewhere in Asia. The more recent process of extinction of certain animals in Java may have been related to human influences on the ecosystem.
At the present stage of Indonesian social and economic development, wildlife is considered as being incapable of caring for itself. In order to safeguard and protect wildlife in Indonesia, the Directorate of Nature Conservation and Wildlife Management (Direktorat Perlindungan dan Pengawetan Alam) or PPA as abbreviated has set the target of designating about 10% of land as serve areas. There are at present 320 natural preserves and natural parks in Indonesia, and more being proposed.
The PPA has adopted the modern natural conservation practice, which emphasizes the conservation of the entire ecosystem. This is necessary , as it is often not possible to preserve wildlife without its habitat. For example, the orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), found only in Sumatra and Kalimantan, is very dependent on primary forest habitat. Therefore, to protect their habitat, the PPA in cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has established "Orang Utan Rehabilitation" Project in Bohorok and in Tanjung Putting reserves, in Sumatra and Kalimantan respectively, for retraining illegally captured orangutans for life in the wilderness.
The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) which is the largest lizard in the world, reaching a length of 2 to 3 meters, has its home in the Komodo group of reserves, comprising Komodo, Padar, and Rinca Islands, eastward of Java, off the west coast of Flores.
Due to its geographical isolation frorn other land masses for a longer period than the other major islands, Sulawesi has a unique fauna comprising of many endemic species and many variations thereof. The babirusa or pigdeer (Babyroussa-babyroussa) and the anoa, a forest-dwelling dwarf buffalo are among the interesting endemic animals of Sulawesi. Other endemic mammals of Sulawesi are the giant parn civet (Macrogalidia musschenbroeki), the largest of all civets, a species of tarsier (Tarsius spectrum), and several forms of the Sulawesi macaque (Cynopithecus niger).
Among the many species of birds in Sulawesi, two species of the megapode birds, the maleo fowl and the Sulawesi shrubhen, are very interesting.
Papua and Maluku areas are rich in colorful birds, ranging frorn the great flightless cassowaries (Casuarius-casuarius) to brilliantly plumaged birds of paradise of the family Paradiseidae and Ptilinorhynhidae (more than 40 species altogether) and many numbers of the parrot family.
Other members of the Oriental fauna are the hornbills of the family Bucerotidae, which are noted for their enormous beak topped by a bony casque, elephants (Elephas indicus), roaming the forest of Sumatra and Kalimantan, the Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris Sumatrae), and the very small number of rernaining Java tigers (Panthera tigris Sondaica), the Mentawai macaquel and leaf monkey Mentawai (Macoca pagensis and Prebystis potenziani) only found on the Mentawai Islands, off the west coast of Sumatra, the small number of one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus) found only in the Ujung Kulon reserve in West Java.
Besides, many interesting animals are worthy to note, such as the banteng (Boss Javanicus), three kangaroo (Dorcopsis mulleri) frorn Papua, fresh-water dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) frorn MahakarnRiver in Kalimantan and the proboscis monkey also from Kalimantan. In addition there are the great variety of birds including egrets, herons, kingfishers, hawks, eagles, and many others, thousands of species of insects, tortoises, turtles, and many kinds of lizards and snakes, and also exotic species of fishes, crabs, mollusks and other aquatic animals living both in salt and fresh water.
Some parts of the Indonesian archipelago are still unexplored and open for botanical and zoolagical surveys and discoveries.
Ornamental Fish
Indonesia is also known for its ornamental fish species which are now being exported to the United States, Japan, and Germany. These ornamental fish species which are known for their colorful shape and beauty include: the Amphiprion fish, the Dascyllus, the red colored Labridae and the Coris Aygula species found in plenty around the Bali strait.
Doctor fishes or Labroidae dimidiatus are ornamental fishes which behave like doctors, examining their patients or pecking the body of other fishes. The most common species among Indonesia's ornamental fishes are the ThaIassoma lunare. The Chaetotontidae have small beaks, but the Forcipiger longirostris and the Rostratus fish are characteristic for their long snouts. The Heniches acuminatus have very long back-fins exceeding their body length and the Monish idol or Zanclus canescens can have a size of 20 cm.
Pamancanthus imperator, Pamancanthus semicirculatus, Pygoplites-diacanthus and Auxiphipos navarchus or angle fishes belonging to the Parnancanthidae families are collected because of their beautiful colors.
The Acarthuridaes and Paracunthurus hepatus fishes are very attractive due to their specific bluish color. Other attractive species are the Acunthurus-Ieucostemon fish, the Zebrazoma veliverum and the Naso-literature fishes. Fishes living in solitude are the Triggerfishes or Balistidaes.
Sea Horses or Hippocampus-coronatus of the family are also among the ornamental fishes collected in Indonesia. The Peacock fishes are called so after their long fins, found in Indonesian waters are the Ptrerois-zebra, Pterois-bachiopterus, P. Volitans, P Rusellii, P Miles and the Radiatas, all of them belongin to the Scorpanidae family. There are still many other species of ornamental fish in Indonesia, too many to be mentioned.
Pearl Shells
Pearl oysters found in Indonesia are the Pictada maxima, Pmagaritifera and Rteria penguin species. The seas of Indonesia’s eastern part around HalmaheraIsland, the Maluku and Aru islands are the habitat of these species.
Pearl oysters became an important marine product after the setting up of the Marine Fisheries Research Institute (LPPL) in 1960 which started to conduct research and conducting experiments on the cultivation of pearl bearing oysters on the island of Aru and in Sulawesi. The series of successful experiments have given rise to the establishment of several pearl cultivation companies in the country . Indonesian pearls are in great demand because of their large size and superb quality. Pearl shells are found plentifully in Maluku. People used to dive for these shells for their iridescent colors and make of them beautiful ornamental articles and jewelry.
Indonesia lies within the botanical region of Melanesia, covering the Malay peninsula south of the isthmus of Kra, the Indonesia archipelago the Philippines and the whole of Papua New Guinea and Papua except the Solomon Islands. For the most part the Melanesian region is covered by the luxuriant growth of the characteristical tropical rainforest vegetation, a type of ever-wet vegetation containing a large number of timber species harboring various kinds of epiphytes, saprophytes and lianas. These characteristic features and the high number of genera and species endemic within this region make the flora of Indonesia completely different from that of neighboring continental Asia and Australia, as weIl as from the flora of other tropical areas in the world. The richness of the Melanesian region of which Indonesia represents the major portion, is reflected in the accommodation of close to 40,000 species of pants, or about 10-12% of the estimated number of plant species in the whole world.
Above an altitude of 1,000 m, a better development of what is normally considered temperature families can be seen, such as the Rosaceae, Lauraceae, Fogaceae, etc. Higher still, elfin or mossy forest and alpine vegetation are found, but comparatively speaking this is insignificant since the major part of Indonesian land-mass consists of lowland.
As might be expected, the rich flora of Indonesia contains many unique examples of tropical plaht life and manifestations Rafflesia arnoldi, which is found only in certain parts of Sumatra is the plant with the largest flower in the world; this parasitic plant grows on certain lianas but does not produce leaves. From the same area in Sumatra comes another giant, Amorphoplalus titanum, with the largest inflorescence of its kind. The insect trapping pitcher plants (Nepenthea Spp.) are represented by different kinds of species from many areas in western Indonesia. The myriad of orchids found in Indonesia are rich in size and from including the largest of all orchids, the tiger orchid Grammatophyllum speciosum, to the tiny and leafless specise of Taeniophyllum used by the local people as a source of food and handicraft. The forest groundin Indonesia is so rich in litter enabling a multitude of fungi to grow lux horsehair blight, the luminescent species, the sooty mould and the the black mildew.
Moreover, the flora making up the Indonesian vegetation abounds in timber species. The Dipterocarp family is world famous as the main source of timber (the meranti) as well as resin and vegetable fat, tengkawang or illipe nuts. Ramin, a valuable kind of timber for furniture, is obtained from species of Ganystylus, whereas sandalwood, ebony, ulin an the kayu Palembang are taken directly from the forest. Besides, Indonesia is also known for its teakwood, a product of man-made forest in Java.
In view of the richness of the Indonesian flora it isn’t surprising that the Indonesian people are depending heavily on these natural resources to support their daily life. Approximately 6000 species of Indonesian plants are known to be used directy by the local people. Most characteristic in this modern time is probably the use of plants as the source of raw material for Indonesia’s traditional herbal medicine (Jamu) and as indispensable part in ceremonies, customs and traditions.
Rivers and Lakes
Besides the great number of mountains and hills, there are still many rivers scattered throughout the country . They serve as substantial transportation means in certain islands; the Musi, Batanghari, Indragiri, and Kampar Rivers in Sumatra, the Kapuas, Barito, Mahakam, and RajangRivers in Kalimantan; and Memberamo and DigulRivers in Papua. In Java, rivers are very important for irrigation systems, for instance the Bengawan Solo, Ciliwung and BrantasRivers.
A number of unique lakes are also found in some islands. All of them are located amidst the islands, such as the Toba, Maninjau and SingkarakLakes in Sumatra; the Tempe, Towuti, Sidenreng, Poso, Limboto and TondanoLakes in Sulawesi, and the Paniai and SentaniLakes in Papua.