Tanjung Puting National Park
 
Located on the south coast of the Borneo peninsula in the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan and districts of Kotawaringin Barat and Seruyan, Tanjung Puting was designated as a biosphere reserve in 1977 and declared a national park in 1982.  Covering a total area of 415,040 hectares, Tanjung Puting is known to have a large diversity of forest ecosystems, including lowland forest, freshwater swamp forest, tropical heat forest which is called "kerangas", peat swamp forest, mangrove forest, and coastal forest.

The topography is relatively flat, with an altitude varying between 0 and 100 metres above sea level/asl.  Some small undulating ridges are found in the northern part of the area. Its vast wetland ecosystems provide a breeding ground for a wide population of waterfowl, including white egrets. The wide variety of tree species that occurs in this area also provides a natural habitat and food resources to support the life of the world`s most endangered species of orangutans and other primates, as well as many other species of wildlife that are ecologically and economically significant.

Over the years, Tanjung Puting has functioned as a rehabilitation centre for orangutans. There are three other rehabilitation centres for orangutan in this area, namely Tanjung Harapan, Pondok Tanggui and Camp Leaky.  Tanjung Puting is rich in wildlife and among these, the best known species that makes this area internationally very famous, is the orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus).  This area is popular for biological/ecological scientific research, particularly for the study of primatology.  Tanjung Puting Biosphere Reserve also plays an important role in eco-tourism and recreation of which a number of activities can be explored.

A flash of the site
Tanjung Puting Biosphere Reserve harbours many species of wildlife.  Other primates found in the area include proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus), long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis), pig-tailed macaque (Macaca nemestrina), agile gibbon (Hylobates agilis), grey gibbon (Hylobates mulleri), red leaf monkey or maroon langur (Presbytis rubicunda rubida).  Furthermore, other notable mammals and species of conservation concern include sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), sambar deer (Cervus unicolor), mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus klossii) and wild pig (Sus barbatus).  Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), and leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis borneoensis) have also been recorded. 

Reptiles include estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) and false gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii).  A rich avifauna is present with over than 200 species having been recorded, including the endangered and rare species storm stork (Ciconia stormii), many kinds of kingfishers, hornbills, oriental darter, and herons. 

This area also harbors a number of interesting fish species, including the world`s endangered fish species (Scleropages formosus), also known as the Asian bony-tongue or locally called the Arwana.  Common plant species of Tanjung Puting are predominantly composed of lowland plant species such as jelutung (Dyera costulata), iron wood (Eusideroxylon zwageri), meranti (Shorea spp.), other dipterocarps, and rattans of commercial value.  The peat swamp forest is characterized by ramin (Gonystylus bancanus), a species which is in high commercial demand and becoming increasingly rare. 

Other plant species include pandans (Pandanus tectorius) and nipa (Nypa fruticans), commonly found along the riverbanks.  The mangrove communities and associated species are dominated by Rhizophora spp., Bruguiera sp., Sonneratia sp. and Xylocapus granatum. The vegetation supports a large population of wildlife making it one of the most important areas for the preservation of primates, birds, fish and other wildlife species.

Management and conservation challenges


Like many other protected areas throughout Indonesia, Tanjung Puting Biosphere Reserve has suffered encroachment from human activities, including illegal logging, forest fire, gold mining, illegal cultivation and poaching. Among these, the most potential threat to the sustainable management of the area is illegal logging. The rehabilitation effort of the area becomes an important action to be implemented in order to improve the sustainable management and preservation of the flora and fauna of this area and maintain the balance of the Tanjung Puting as a whole ecosystem.

Furthermore, Tanjung Puting plays as important role as a centre for orang-utan rehabilitation. There are currently few sources of alternative income for the local community living in the surrounding areas.  And there is a need to find appropriate strategies and mechanisms to develop sustainable alternative livelihoods to support the local communities. Thus, the behaviour towards and reliance of the local communities on the forest resources can be minimized and their positive perception can be enhanced.

Some studies to identify and recommend alternative sources of livelihoods have been carried out agro-forestry, agriculture and fish farming. Activities relating to the improvement of capacity and professionalism as well as the technical skills of the human resources in the field are required to support the implementation of the management and conservation goals of this area. Such activities would also increase quality and professionalism to the public. 

Another crucial issue in the management and conservation of Tanjung Puting is in regard to the security concern in the area due to the illegal logging activities. A joint team, consisting of local governments, non-government organizations (NGOs), universities, local communities and private sectors would bring a positive result and a situation more conducive to improvement, particularly given the security situation and law enforcement in the Tanjung Puting area.

Ensuring the success of the management and conservation efforts in Tanjung Puting requires the active involvement of all stakeholders concerned, including the necessity for local government and communities to work together and solve the complex challenges in this area.  There is also a need for an inter-sectoral approach in order to achieve a more tangible and effective solution to overcome with the present situation.

Tanjung Puting is managed by the Ministry of Forestry, Republic of Indonesia under the Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (PHKA). The field office is located at Kotawaringin Barat, Central Kalimantan