Indonesian Vegetations at a Glance

Rafflesia arnoldii

It is destiny for the tropics to have biodiversity more than the subtropics or the poles. It is too for Indonesia. There are many ecosystems here; mangrove, sea, shore, savanna, grassland, and so on, which each have its own biodiversity. Indonesian flora is a part of Indo-Malay that live (beside in Indonesia) only in India, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Philippine. And we call “Malaysiana group” for the flora growing specifically in Malaysia, Philippine and Indonesia.

Indonesian flora is a part of Indo-Malay that live (beside in Indonesia) only in India, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Philippine. And we call “Malaysiana group” for the flora growing specifically in Malaysia, Philippine and Indonesia.

Mango treeThe forests in Malaysiana group itself have around 248,000 species of tall plants. It is dominated by Dipterocarpaceae (trees that produce winged seeds) family. If you know timber tree (Shorea sp.), eaglewood (Gonystylus bancanus) or chalkwood (Drybalanops aromatica), those are Dipterocarpaceae. They are tallest plants, so usually form the forest canopy. That is one of characteristics of tropical rain forest biome, by the way. There are also liana trees like rattan inside this kind of forest.

Now let’s shift to the east. From Sulawesi until Papua, all along we see is non-Dipterocarpaceae forests. The forests there have middle high trees, e.g. banyan (Ficus sp.) and matoa (Pometia pinnata). Matoa tree is the endemic plants in Papua.

Indonesia is The Big Three for countries which have high level of biodiversity, beside Brazil and Zaire. Here you can find numerous plants that are scarce or have limited spread area. You cannot find durian (Durio zibetinus), mango (Mangifera indica), and breadfruit (Artocarpus sp.) beyond Sumatra, Kalimantan, Java and Sulawesi island.

Maybe in Philippine (as one of Malaysiana flora group) those fruits grow too. But you can’t find Rafflesia arnoldii in Philippine. In somewhere else either.

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