Senin, 07 November 2011

KAWASAN WALLACEA 3 - Taman Nasional Komodo

Taman Nasional Komodo

Komodo is one of the long arc of islands running from Sumatra towards Irian Jaya along the line of a tectonic subduction between the Sunda and Sahul shelfs. It is the largest (34,000 ha) of a small archipelago between the larger islands of Sumbawa and Flores. The topography is generally steep and rugged owing to its volcanic origin and is dominated by a range of rounded north-south oriented hills between 500-600m high. Relief is steepest to the north-east, notably in the peak of Gunung (Mount) Toda Klea which is precipitous and crowned by deep, rocky dry gullies.

The coastline is irregular with little flat ground, numerous bays, beaches and inlets separated by headlands, often with sheer cliffs falling vertically into the sea. To the east, across the Lantah Strait, Padar is a small, narrow island which rises steeply from surrounding plains to 200-300m. Further east, the second largest island in the Park, Rinca (20,000 ha), is separated from Flores by a very narrow strait. Gili Motong is a much smaller island to its south-east.

The topography of the southern part of Rinca is dominated by the Doro Ora massif (667m); to the north the steep-sided peaks of Gunung Tumbah and Doro Raja are 187m and 351m respectively. As with Komodo and Padar, the coastline is rugged and rocky although sandy beaches are found in sheltered semi-enclosed bays. The mainland sections of the Park, Mbeliling – Ngorang forest and Way Wuul Mburak Park, lie on the rugged coast of north-western Flores where surface fresh water is more abundant than on the other islands. The islands were probably formed by vulcanism in the Eocene era though the west side of Komodo preserves Jurassic rocks. Deposits are generally resistant volcanics, volcanic ash, conglomerates and coral formations raised by tectonic movement. There are frequent tremors though no active volcanoes. The soils are rocky and shallow (Sumardja,1981; PHKA, 2004).

The seas around the islands are among the most productive in the world due to upwelling and a high degree of oxygenation resulting from the strong tidal currents which flow through the Sape Straits to the west (Kvalvagnaes & Halim,1979). The marine site has sea mounts, semi-enclosed bays and seagrass beds north of Rinca Island. Fringing and patch coral reefs are extensive and best developed in the west- and north-facing areas, the most intact being on the north-east coast of Komodo and the south-west coasts of Rinca and Padar.

The location just to the east of Wallace’s line gives the islands a transitional biota between the Oriental and Australasian regions. The predominant vegetation, covering some 70% of the Park, is dry open grass-woodland savannah, mainly of anthropogenic origin, Most of its species are xerophytic with water-retaining adaptions and many are fire-adapted. There are also patches of tropical rainforest, deciduous monsoon forest and mangrove. The dominant savannah tree is lontar palm Borassus Page 2 of 8 flabellifer, which occurs individually or in scattered stands.
Grasses include 
  • Eulalia leschenaultiana, 
  • Setaria adhaerens, 
  • Chloris barbata, 
  • Heteropogon contortus and, 
in the higher areas, 
  • Themeda spp. including T. frondosa and T. triandra. 
Tropical deciduous monsoon forest occurs along the bases of hills and on valley bottoms, characterised by trees such as 
  • Sterculia foedita, 
  • Oroxylum indicum, 
  • Tamarindus indica, 
  • Zizyphus horsfeldi, 
  • Schleichera oleosa, 
  • Cassia javanica, 
  • Murraya paniculata, 
  • Diospyros javanica, 
  • Harrisonia brownii and 
  • Piliostigma malabaricum. 
The forest lacks the predominance of Australian-derived trees and flora found further to the east on Timor (Sumardja, 1981).

A quasi cloud-forest occurs above 500m on pinnacles and ridges. Although covering only small areas on Komodo Island, it harbours a relict flora of many endemic species (Auffenburg, 1980). It is characterised by 
  • moss-covered rocks, 
  • rattan, 
  • bamboo groves 
  • and many trees generally absent at lower elevations. 
These include 
  • Terminalia zollingeri, 
  • Podocarpus neriifolius, 
  • Uvaria rufa, 
  • Ficus drupacea, 
  • Callophyllum spectabile, 
  • Mischocarpus sundaicus, 
  • Colona kostermansiana and 
  • Glycosmis pentaphylla. 
The three main coastal marine vegetation types are 
  • mangroves, 
  • sea grasses and 
  • reef-building coralline algae.
The mangrove forest occurs in sheltered bays on 
  • Komodo, 
  • Padar and 
  • Rinca. 
There are 19 species dominated by 
  • Rhizophora stylosa, 
  • R. mangle and 
  • Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, with 
  • Avicennia marina 
in large stands on the landward side (Sumardja, 1981; PHKA, 2004).

Other coastal vegetation includes pioneering beach plants like 
  • Ipomoea pes caprae. 
Due to the dry climate, plant species diversity is relatively low, with only about 102 recorded species (PHKA, n.d.). Extensive sea grass beds of 
  • Thalassia hemprichii and 
  • Zostera capensis 
occur off the north end of Rinca Island (Kvalvagnaes & Halim, 1979)

The transitional nature of the biota has resulted in the presence of 
  • many mammals from Asia and 
  • several reptiles and 
  • birds from the Australasian bio-region. 
Compared with the rich marine life the terrestrial fauna is small. 
The Park is best known for the Komodo monitor Varanus komodoensis (VU), the world’s largest lizard, which can grow to 3m long. The population on Komodo island, was estimated in 2001 by a team from the Zoological Society of San Diego, at 2259 individuals. An earlier estimate of about 5.700 was said to be distributed over the islands of 
  • Komodo (2,900), 
  • Rinca (900), 
  • Gili Motong (<100) and 
  • in coastal regions of western and northern Flores.
The species was last seen on Padar in 1975 (Kvalvagnaes & Halim,1979). Its favoured habitat is tropical deciduous forest, and, to a lesser extent, open savannah. It is carnivorous, eating occasional large meals when it eats all of its prey, and is well adapted to living without water (Auffenburg, 1981). The rest of the herpetofauna is rich, with 12 land snakes including 
  • the common cobra Naja naja sputatrix in disturbed land, 
  • Russel’s pit viper Vipera russelli and 
  • green tree viper Trimeresurus albolabris, 
9 species of 
  • skink Scincidae, 
  • geckoes Gekkonidae, 
  • limbless lizards Dibamidae and 
  • monitor lizards.

There are several amphibian species in the cloud forest: 
  • Sphenomorphus schlegeli, 
  • S. striolatus and 
  • the frog Oreophryne jeffersoniana. 
Savannah species include 
  • Emoia similis, and 
  • Asian bullfrog Kaloula baleata. 
Tropical deciduous forest supports reptiles such as 
  • Sphenomorphus florensis, 
  • Trimeresurus albolabris, 
  • Dendrelaphis pictus and 
  • Lycodon aulicus.
(Auffenburg, 1980).

The mammalian fauna is characteristic of the Wallacean zoogeographic zone, with relatively few terrestrial species, including 
  • several bats, 
  • the endemic Komodo rat Komodomys rintjanus (VU), 
  • crab-eating macaque Macaca fascicularis and 
  • palm civet Paradoxurus hermaphroditus lehmanni. 
Introduced species, such as 
  • the Timor deer Cervus timorensis, 
  • the main prey of the lizard, and 
  • wild boar Sus scrofa, 
as well as feral domestic animals including 
  • horses and 
  • water buffalo Bubalis bubalis, 
form important prey species for the Komodo monitor. 

Some 72 species of birds have been recorded, including 
  • yellow-crested cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea (CR), 
  • noisy friar bird Philemon buceroides and 
  • dusky and orange-footed scrub fowl Megapodius freycinet and M. reinwardti.
Indonesia is unique in that marine flora and fauna from both Indian and Pacific oceans intermingle through gaps in the island chain. In fact the local straits are on a migration route for whales. In the Park the marine zone covers 60% of the area and its biodiversity is very high. It has a wide variety of depths and bottom conditions and the upwelling of nutrient-rich water from deeper areas of the archipelago results in a rich reef ecosystem. The marine life includes 
  • foraminifera, 
  • cnidara, 
  • ascidians, 
  • worms, 
  • crustaceans, 
  • molluscs, 
  • cartilaginous and 
  • bony fishes, 
marine reptiles, and mammals including 16 species of 
  • cetaceans, 
  • ten species of dolphin, 
  • sharks, 
  • manta rays, 
  • dugong Dugong dugon (VU) and 
  • five species of turtle.
These include 
  • blue whale Balaenoptera musculus (EN), 
  • fin whale B. physalis (EN), 
  • humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae (VU) and 
  • sperm whale Physeter catodon (VU), also 
  • leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea (CR), 
  • hawksbill turtle Eretmochelys imbricata (CR), 
  • olive ridley turtle Lepidochelys olivacea (EN) and 
  • green turtle Chelonia mydas (VU). 
Species of high commercial value are 
  • sea cucumbers, 
  • Holothuria, 
  • Napoleon wrasse Cheilinus undulatus, and groupers 
(Mous, 2002; PHKA, 2004).

Komodo National Park (KNP) was set up as a Technical Implementation Unit of PHKA. Its purposes are to protect the Komodo dragon and its habitat, the terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems and their species, the exploited reef fish and invertebrates and surrounding fishing grounds; it exists also to promote sustainable use of the natural resources for tourism, fisheries, education, and research. Key regulations for the management of KNP are 
  • the Act on Conservation of Biological Resources and their Ecosystems, 
  • the Fisheries Law, 
  • the Government Regulation concerning Natural Resources Tourism in the Use Zone of National Parks, 
  • Community Forest Parks and Natural Resources Parks, 
  • Government Regulation on Conservation Areas, and 
  • the Government of District Manggarai Regulation on Fishing Gear, plus 
  • the Ministry of Forestry Decree on Zoning.

The Park is split into seven zones:
  1. Core, 
  2. wilderness, 
  3. tourism, 
  4. traditional use, 
  5. pelagic use, 
  6. research and training, 
  7. traditional settlement. 
The intensive use zones contain the development of the villages within enclaves and the tourist and administrative facilities; the wilderness zone provides for limited tourism such as trails and camps; and the core zone is strictly protected with access restricted to authorised PHKA and research personnel (FAO, 1977). The sanctuaries are on the southern half of Komodo and Rinca Islands and on Gili Montong Island.

The Park headquarters are located at Labuan Bajo and there are six permanently staffed guard posts within the Park, though major decisions are taken in the Ministry of Forestry in Jakarta. Management activities have focused on enforcement and the provision of tourist facilities. Recommendations for the development of a buffer zone to provide resources for the village enclaves, the expansion of regional and local development and conservation awareness programs were made by Sumardja in 1981.
During designation of the Biosphere Reserve, local communities were involved in the decision-making. In 1996, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) established a local field office to implement a coastal and Page 5 of 8 marine conservation program in partnership with the PHKA. 

This included 
  • enforcement, 
  • alternative livelihood development, 
  • community awareness, 
  • constituency building, 
  • monitoring and research, and 
  • the development of funding through eco-tourism. 
In 2000 the Government and PHKA endorsed a 25-Year Management Plan for the Park by The Nature Conservancy.

This again proposed extension of the boundaries and buffer zone of the Park. Implementation of a legal ban on destructive fishing and of a weekly marine patrol program has resulted in an 80 percent decrease in blast fishing: reef monitoring has indicated that even heavily targeted reefs are now continuing to recover from this damage (Mous, 2002).

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