FLORA & FAUNA
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
today’s airstrips and boat connections, Dayak territory is
still among the most inaccessible on earth.