Located in the jungle on the south of Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, and enclosing Katingan Regency, Pulang Pisau Regency and Palangka Raya City, Sebangau National Park was established in 2012 and has an area of approximately 568,700 hectares.
Amongst Sebangau National Park amazing natural features, the vast variety of protected flora and fauna species include 166 flora species – among those species is the Ramin tree, a genus of about 30 species of hardwood trees -, 116 bird species – one is the Bangau Tong-tong, a kind of stork-, 35 species of mammals and 36 species of fish. Sebangau National Park provides the suitable habitat to Orangutan, Proboscis Monkeys, Macan Dahan (clouded leopard), Owa gibbons and more.
Moreover, Sebangau National Park is one of the last Peatland swamp forest – tropical moist forests where waterlogged soil prevents dead leaves and wood from fully decomposing – left at Central Kalimantan. This is an area with great economic importance as it provides a source of living to the local inhabitants, and for this its protection receives a considerable amount of support from the local community.
As an icon of natural tourism for Central Kalimantan, Sebangau National Park is a regional pride and an essential ecosystem that needs to be preserved. This task is efficiently covered by the park management board, Balai UPT, whose duty is to implement conservation projects based on legislations and regulations. Their tasks include area restoration, unblocking of clogged canals, forest rehabilitation and fire control, society empowerment, nature tourism, enhancement of the population of threatened species, research and protection.
Area restoration is particularly essential at Sebangau National Park. The main pressing function is the creation and up-keeping of canal dams – locally known as Tabat. Built out of wood, Tabats have the function to block water from flowing out from peat land areas to rivers so land around the canals remain wet and humid during droughts. Another function of Tabats is to secure land areas from the risk of forest fire.
Sebangau Natural Park management together with WWF Indonesia have already built over 1000 dams since 2006, and planting activities amount to an area of 9,418 hectares. This important rehabilitation in the area has not been quite enough to make up to the massive loss of 85% of the total wood in the area due to massive logging concessions given out between 1980 and 1995. It has been estimated that the park will need several centuries to be back to its pre-logged state.
Despite the damage still perpetrated by illegal loggers, which blocks some of the orangutans routes, a recent study has shown that, thanks to the proper protection of the western part of the park, the hydrological integrity of the forest has been maintained, and it is ecologically resilient.
Other challenges faced by Sebangau National Park management include the implementation of regulations, the control and prevention of forest fires and the marketing of the park to the tourist sector, with a consequent need to improve existing services.
Central Borneo Guide (CBG) is a tourism guide service started by Yun Pratiwi, a local Dayaknese woman from Central Borneo, who strives to facilitate local and international tourists to visit and explore the nature and the local culture of the Dayak people of Borneo. Their tour to Sebangau National Park and Rungan River will allow you to explore primate country and the conservation forest, to experience traditional village life on the river and to gain contact with the local Dayak culture in a pristine jungle environment. For a peep at this fantastic tour program, CLICK HERE !
Central Borneo Guide wishes to thank Tatan Suwardi for the data of the above article, and David Metcalf, a professional photographer from New Zealand,who helped them to start and keeps supporting the cause. Follow David on http://davidmetcalfphotography.com or read about his charity project and documentary Long Sa’an – the journey back