Nature of Java

Natural reserves in Java

Ujong Kulon & Krakatau

The total reserve area is 62,500 hectares and stands 570 meters above sea level. By road from Jakarta or Bogor to Labuan on Java's west coast, or by ferry from Sumatera (to Anyer, north of Labuan), and hence by hired motorized fishing boat, taking a minimum of 5 hours from Labuan to Peucang Island. Two rest houses on Peucang offer limited furnished accommodation. Book first at the PHPA office at Labuan and take canned food along.
The mainland reserve area is the last refuge for the 45 -50 remaining Java rhinos, and is almost the last lowland rain forest in Java. Other wildlife species, gibbons, macaques, leaf monkeys, deer, pigs, bantengs, (Java's wild ox), and 222 species of bird species. Idyllic beaches, seascapes, and good coral. The Krakatao volcano, 40 kilometers from Labuan, is best visited from here on a one-day trip.

Penanjung Pangandaran

Only 100 meters high this reserve is only 530 hectares in size, and can be reached by road from Bandung. Public transport, guest house accommodation and food are all available. This reserve includes beaches, coral gardens, caves and nature walks. Interesting legends are associated with various topographical features. There are remains of a Japanese World War II fortification. This area is good for bird lovers.

Meru Betiri

The reserve starts at sea level and reaches 1,223 meters in an area of 5 hectares. By (rough) road, go from Genteng or Glenmore, both on the main Jember-Banyuwangi road. From Genteng it is 70 kilometers to the south coast where there is a rest house (bedding, food, service) at Rajegwesi Bay, 2 kilometers from the reserve's eastern boundary. Coffee plantations occupy much of the lowland and thick forests. The steeper parts include precipitous headlands. Sukamade beach is a fine turtle rookery of its kind. Two species of the Rafflesia flower are found in Meru Betiri, which is the last refuge for the nearly extinct Java tiger.

Bromo-Tengger & Semeru

The total area covers over 8,000 hectares at 1,500 to 3,676 meters above sea level.
Usually reached from the north by road from Pasuruan to either Tosari or Ngadisari. Both villages just below the rim of the Tengger crater offer some accommodation as well as horses and guides. There is also a small hotel at Cemara Lawang above Ngadisari (jeep track only). The floor of the Tengger caldera is a vast "sand-sea" 10 kilometers across. Cones of the active Bromo volcano and others rise from here.
Upland to the south shows three lakes, a small rest house at Mt. Semeru, the highest mountain and still active volcano in Java. Though under PHPA jurisdiction, no special permit is at present required for a visit to this particular reserve.

Parks and gardens in Java

Bogor Botanic Gardens

The most renowned of public gardens and one which has won international acclaim, is the Bogor Botanic Gardens, 60 km south of Jakarta.
Laid out initially at the orders of the British Lieutenant Governor Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles with the help of experts from the Kew Gardens, the Bogor Botanic Gardens were inaugurated in 1817, after the end of the five-year British interregnum, by Dutch Governor General Van Der Capellen. It covers an area of 87 hectares (about 217.5 acres) and has a collection of more than 15,000 native and foreign plant species, including orchids and the giant Rafflesia which blooms only once a year.
Affiliated with the Botanic Gardens are the Herbarium Bogoriense containing preserved plant species, the Zoological Museum and the Treub Laboratory.
Branches of the Bogor gardens are the Cibodas Mountain Garden, the Purwodadi Gardens in East Java and the Eka Karya Garden in Bali.

Cibodas Mountain Garden

Situated 1300-1425 m high on the slopes of Mount Gede-Pangrango, Cibodas Botanic Garden contains beautiful mountain scenery with impressive views across the Cipanas valley of West Java. The Garden covers about 125 ha of undulating topography, with large grassy expanses, rocky coniferous areas, and valleys filled with tree ferns and waterfalls. Cibodas Botanic Garden is a popular recreational center for the Greater Jakarta area as well as a research station for students and scientists studying tropical montane flora.
The Cibodas Botanic Garden was founded in 1862 by the botanist and curator Johannes Elias Teysjmann as an extension of the Bogor Botanic Garden. Now one of four Indonesian Botanic Gardens (Kebun Raya Indonesia), the Cibodas Botanic Garden is a part of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI). The average rainfall is 2380 mm, and the weather is cool (18°C) and moist. The Garden is located ± 45 km southeast of Bogor, or ± 100 km southeast of Jakarta.

Collections and Supporting Facilities

The Garden currently maintains a collection of 5831 living specimens from 1206 species. Among the most prominent collections of the Cibodas Botanic Garden are the floral gardens, cacti and succulents, bamboo, palms, conifers, Euphorbia and Myrtaceae collections. Native Indonesian plants worth seeing include the orchids, the fern collection, the Indonesian oak and chestnut, and the Javanese Rhododendron.
The Garden maintains a herbarium and seed museum for research, development and conservation purposes. The 4521 herbarium specimens from 1503 species consist of those collected from the Garden and from the Gede-Pangrango National Park which is annexed to the Garden. The 649 species in the seed museum are used as a reference for seed identification.
Historically the Cibodas Botanic Garden is associated with the introduction of quinine to Indonesia. Here that valuable species was planted for the first time, introduced from South America. A few years later, the plants had to be transferred to another, more suitable place, but the introduction of exotic plants to Indonesia continued. Worth mentioning are the introduction of Eucalyptus species from Australia, and the conifers from Europe and America, which now dominate the landscape. The succulents Aloe and Agave, and the Acacia, Callistemon and Camellia plants were introduced for decorative purposes, in addition to many other temperate species which can be seen in the commercial nurseries alongside the roads leading into the Garden.
Facilities such as a guest house, library and nursery are available for scientists, research workers and students who wish to study the Garden and the mountain flora of Mount Gede-Pangrango.

Fern collection

Ferns are some of the most ancient plants on the earth, and in both form and habitat exhibit great diversity. In the Garden you will see aquatic ferns such as Azolla spp. floating in the water, terrestrial ferns including Polypodium feei growing at the base of trees, edible ferns such as Diplazium esculentum aerial ferns including Blechnum vulcanicum, found nestled among the branches of trees, and tall tree ferns such as Cyathea spinulosa or Dicksonia blumei. Some species of the genus Cyathea have been recorded to reach heights of more than 24 meters and to have leaves of 5 meters or more in length. The fern, or Pteridophyte, collection is primarily concentrated in the area between the cafeteria and the guesthouse. The external collections contain the impressive tree ferns with their bristly young fronds (leaves) coiled in the bud. These plants are found throughout the rainforest at high altitudes, as they thrive in the cool and damp climate. Inside the special fern house you can see many species growing along the stone pathways and bridges.

Glasshouse collections

These collections are maintained in newly renovated glass houses above the guest house. They consist of cacti, succulent plants and orchids. There are nearly 4000 living specimens of 350 species of cacti and succulents, and 360 species of orchids. The cacti and succulent collection contains species from all over the world, including Agave, Dracaena, Sansevieria, Yucca, and Aloe species: many with brilliant yellow, red, pink or purple blossoms.
The Garden's orchid collection contains both epiphytic (on trees) and terrestrial (on the ground) orchids, including the most impressive Paphiopedilum javanicum, a terrestrial orchid indigenous to the Cianjur area. The orchid collection also houses representatives from around the Indonesian archipelago, including Dendrobium spp. from Irian Jaya, Paphiopedilum spp. from Sumatra, and the famous national flower, Phalaenopsis amabillis or Moon Orchid from Maluku.

Palms collection

The palm collection in Cibodas Botanic Garden contains collections from all over the Indonesian archipelago: Pinanga lauhlii from Java, Pinanga densiflora from Aceh, Sumatera, Areca vestiaria from Sulawesi, Areca spp. from Maluku, Arenga undulatifolia from Kalimantan and Ptychococcus spp. from Irian Jaya. The Garden also contains representatives from Latin America (Chamaecyparis spp.), China, Australia (Livistona spp.), The Phillipines and The United States. The visitor can take special note of the Central American "peach palm"(Bactris gasipaes) found in Sections X.A. and XIII.B., which is an important source for people in Latin America. The fruits are boiled in saltwater, and the floury, orange flesh is a carbohydrate source. The uniquely formed Phoenix canariensis var. loureririi from the Canary Islands can be found in Section II.B. In Indonesia palms are used for food (sago, coconut, sugar), clothing, household goods, medicine, magic, stimulants and ornaments.

Bamboo collection

Collections of Gigantochloa spp., the enormous Javanese bamboo, can be found in Section VII.A. The more delicately-stemmed Bambusa glaucesens from Japan is located nearby in Section VI.A. Bamboo species from China, Burma, and India are also found in the Garden. In Indonesia domesticated bamboo is used for a wide variety of handicrafts, musical instruments, tools, utensils, containers, furniture and building materials, and the shoots are eaten as a vegetable.

Evergreen garden trees

An extensive collection of Eucalyptus trees (63 species) from Australia, are planted throughout the Garden, with concentrations occurring in Sections XIII.A., B. and XVI.A. Araucaria Avenue, or the stone pathway of the tall, thick-trunked Araucaria bidwilli from Queensland, Australia was planted in ca. 1866 and can be found in Section III.B. Different varieties of oak (Quercus spp.) from Japan and the Himalyas can be found planted throughout the Garden, and the Garden's pine (Pinus spp.) collection of twenty species includes representatives from all over the globe: the Caribbean, North America, the Mediterranean, and Northern Asia.

Flowering trees and shrubs

Approximately 15 varieties of Camellia japonica from Japan can be found in Section I.F. The hardiest and best-known camellias are from this species, producing flowers of various shades of pink, red, and white amongst glossy evergreen leaves.
Various species of Magnolia grow well in Cibodas, including the beautiful Magnolia japonica.
Rhododendrons and azaleas are among the most spectacular and important flowering shrubs of any garden, and Cibodas Botanic Garden is no exception. The rhododendrons are primarily concentrated in Section I.G., where the visitor can appreciate collections of Rhododendron mucronatum from Japan or R. javanicum, indigenous to the Cibodas area.


There are a variety of waterfalls in Cibodas Botanic Garden, some human-made, and some naturally occurring in the landscape. Visitors can trek through the forest to a lovely natural waterfall or drive their cars over a specially constructed shallow waterfall.

Purwodadi Garden

This garden in East Java was founded in 1914 for the study of plants growing under relatively dry climatic conditions. It is situated on the lower slopes of Mt. Arjuna at an altitude of about 3,000 m and covers an area of 85 hectares (212.5 acres).

Orchid Gardens

Apart from those in the Bogor Botanic Gardens, which serve a mainly scientific and experimental purpose, commercial orchid gardens are found in Jakarta at Slipi and in the Taman Mini Park. Indonesia produces some of the most exotic orchid species, including the black-orchid (bualagna pandurata) which grows in the Kersik Luway reserve of East Kalimantan.

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