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Kalimantan Island Indonesia Borneo

Borneo Island biodiversity and it's Dayak indigenous peoples
is containing some of the richest flora and fauna in the world. The Indonesian part of Borneo is called “Kalimantan” and covers the lower two-thirds of the island. The northern part of Borneo Island consists of Malaysian Sabah & Sarawak and the tiny oil-rich sultanate, Brunei.

Kalimantan dense jungle is as mysterious as it is vast
, it has an intriguing history of sultanates and traditional Dayak tribes, with a wealth of ecological and cultural treasures that survive deep within the rainforests of the world’s third's largest island. Almost no roads, but rivers and swampland that drive you to the deepest dark forest to experience the drum of the shaman in Kalimantan 's ongoing environmental struggles. There has never been a more vital time to visit Indonesian Borneo.

Kalimantan is divided into four provinces East, South, Central and West. It has a total territory of 539,500 sq km, roughly 28% of Indonesia’s total land area, but it has only 7% of the total population,  about 14 million


The flora and fauna of Kalimantan’s montane and lowland forests is amazing and each is an important genetic resource and wildlife habitat.  The "green gold" exploitation that began in the late 1960s has destroyed more then half its forests, but a turning point is in process. Now the Indonesian government and the local people understand the beauty and wealth of Kalimantan's tropical forests and efforts are being made to preserve them.
Kalimantan’s coastline features mangrove swamps and lowland rainforest. An inland belt of gentle hills and alluvial plains mark the start of the deep jungle. Towering Dipterocarpus trees, valuable ebony, and ironwood trees are scattered throughout. More then a half of the world’s hardwood tree species are here. Climbing rattan palms, vines, orchids, ferns, and pitcher plants are also common.
The wildlife is exotic and unusually diverse, with orangutans only found on Sumatra and Borneo Islands, along with the endemic proboscis monkeys, and other forest denizens including Malaysian sun bears, clouded leopards, leaf monkeys, macaques, and pangolins. Many lizard varieties and pythons live in Kalimantan’s jungles, while crocodiles and the last freshwater dolphins on earth ply the rivers.
More then 600 bird species make the Kalimantan forests their home, such as the sun birds, pheasants, cockatoos, and spectacular hornbills. Also many kinds of beautiful butterflies and metallic beetles, color this world, along poisonous polypods, brightly colored millipedes, and giant walking sticks.

Wildlife spotting opportunities are the best in the heart of Kalimantan or in the national parks or nature reserves. While seeing creatures in the wild is never guaranteed, visitors can at least get a glimpse of their habitats and experience their environment while waiting to see a rare animal or bird.

Despite exploration and development, many areas of Kalimantan are still untouched by the Western world. Tourist facilities are relatively undeveloped and visitors are few. Many Westerners you meet are from the oil and wood booms which began in the 1970s. Good roads are only found near the big coastal cities (there are paved roads between Samarinda and Banjarmasin and around Pontianak), but rivers are the main transportation arteries.

There is no volcanic activity here. The island’s central mountain ranges heavily eroded over thousands of years and are separated by broad river valleys. Kalimantan is crisscrossed by giant rivers including the Mahakam, Barito, Kapuas, and the Kayan.

The population of Kalimantan is diverse, thanks to the booming oil, coal, gold and timber industries. Many Indonesians – along with foreigners – have come to Kalimantan searching for work in the last two decades. The native Dayak people live deeper inland along the river banks throughout the interior. Each Dayak tribe has its own dialect and culture, thriving as hunters and gatherers. Other Indonesians consider the Dayaks to be backward because of their previous headhunting and other animist customs. The truth is that they are scrupulously honest by nature, though exposure to Christianity and modern values has muted this trait.

Even with today’s airstrips and boat connections, Dayak territory is still among the most inaccessible on earth.

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