Sumatra is the largest island entirely in Indonesia and the sixth-largest island in the world. A place of extraordinary beauty, its tropical forests are among the richest and most diverse on the planet, boasting some 218 rare species of vascular plants found in the Tesso Nilo landscape, including Amorphophallus titanium, the tallest flower in the world. Located on the spine of the Bukit Barisan Mountains, known as the Andes of Sumatra, the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra is a 2.5-million-hectare site consisting of three national parks: Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park, and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. Gunung Leuser National Park covers 7,927 square kilometers in northern Sumatra. The park is classified by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) as part of the 200 Global Ecoregions of importance for preservation of the planet’s biodiversity. Gunung Leuser National Park also houses the orangutan sanctuary of Bukit Lawang, the largest animal sanctuary of Sumatran orangutans. The largest national park in Sumatra, Indonesia, is the Kerinci Seblat National Park, covering a total area of 13,750 square kilometers that include the West Sumatra, South Sumatra, Bengkulu, and Jambi provinces. Home to a diversity of fauna and flora, Kerinci Seblat National Park has more than 4,000 plant species and is also host to the enormous Rafflesia arnoldii. At the southern tip of Sumatra lies Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. The World Wildlife Fund has ranked the area as one of the planet’s most biologically exceptional habitats, and it is one of the most important forest area for tiger conservation in the world. We thank the noble governments, organizations, and rangers working diligently to protect the wondrous Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra and its precious inhabitants. How blessed are we to be able to enjoy the vivacious beauty of Mother Nature, uplifting our spirits and reminding us how important it is to respect, preserve, and cherish this natural environment for the wellbeing of the exquisite wildlife as well as humanity.
2020-11-27 978 Views
Today, we journey to Borneo Island, the largest island in Asia, to explore a spectacular site – “Malaysia’s Natural Treasure: Gunung Mulu National Park.” Situated at the northeastern corner of Borneo Island, Gunung Mulu National Park lies on Malaysian lands, adjacent to Brunei. An equatorial rainforest haven, Gunung Mulu National Park is a rare combination of magnificent geographical features and exceptional biodiversity. It was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, under natural criteria, in the year 2000. The Gunung Mulu National Park region has been uniquely formed over approximately 60 million years. It has many geographical features which enchant its visitors, including its disappearing rivers, sinkholes, springs, and pinnacles. The park’s diverse equatorial rainforest covers 530 square kilometers (205 square miles) and hosts a range of precious wildlife. Within the rich assortment of tropical biodiversity, there are 17 distinct vegetation zones that are home to thousands of rare plants, particularly native palm varieties, as well as many other native species of flora. The centerpiece of Gunung Mulu National Park is the 2,376-meter-high sandstone pinnacle from which it derived its name, Mount Mulu, or Gunung Mulu in Malay. Halfway up the slopes of Mount Api, the Pinnacles are a popular tourist attraction. Gunung Mulu National Park’s unique geographical terrain also includes a vast system of caves. At least 295 kilometers (800 miles) of these caves have been explored, but this is believed to be only a portion of the actual total. The Melinau limestone is particularly strong, allowing the caverns of Gunung Mulu National Park to be exceptionally large. Deer Cave is the world’s largest-known cave passage, while Clearwater Cave is the largest cave explored in Southeast Asia. Good Luck Cave encompasses the largest-known cave chamber in the world, Sarawak Chamber.
2020-10-09 833 Views
The Swiss Alps are recognized as one of the most spectacular mountainous regions in the world. The Jungfrau-Aletsch region is the most glaciated part of the European Alps. Spanning over 82,000 hectares (316.6 square miles), it is located in the southwest of Switzerland. Jungfrau-Aletsch boasts many impressive peaks, nine of which stand at over 4,000 meters (2.5 miles) in altitude. The Jungfrau-Aletsch region became the first Alpine UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific, and Cultural, Organization) World Natural Heritage Site in 2001. The Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch region has not only played a significant role in European art, literature, mountaineering, and sightseeing, but it also offers immense wealth of geological information regarding glacier and alp formation, as well as the natural ecosystems unique to the area. With global warming resulting in an alarming amount of unnatural glacial retreat, ongoing scientific research in the area is also considered to be of paramount importance. The Aletsch Glacier is the largest and longest glacial area of the European Alps. This frozen river begins its long winding 23-kilometer (14-mile) descent from an altitude of 4,000 meters (2.49 miles). Measured at almost 1-kilometer (3,280-feet) thick at various points, the glacial ice melts to feed crystal clear water into the Rhone River. Although snow, ice, and outcrops of jagged granite rock make up around 80 percent of the Jungfrau-Aletsch landscape, 529 species of durable vascular plants and mosses can be found here, and Norway Spruce and Swiss Pine trees are plentiful in the valleys below. The Jungfrau-Aletsch region is also full of animal life. There are plenty of mountain goats like the Alpine ibex, or the steinbock, as well as the chamois. The lynx is very much at home chilling on the glacial hillsides along with a number of red deer and smaller mammals such as foxes, hares, stoats, and squirrels. Almost 1,000 separate insect species have been recorded in the region. The 99 species of bird that have been identified here include the rock thrush, rock partridge, great spotted woodpecker, golden eagle, as well as boreal and pygmy owls. Indeed, this vibrant environment is full of life.
2020-07-10 1116 Views
The world’s largest tropical rainforest, the Amazon is one of Mother Nature’s most precious and impressive gems. The awe-inspiring Amazon rainforest is truly spectacular for its exquisite beauty and its humble service to the local native population. It is the ancestral home to around 400 tribes and provides much needed medicinal plants and food for these indigenous communities. The Amazon is also the planet’s most luxuriant and diverse biological ecosystem of plants, birds, animals, and insects. Thirty percent of the world’s known species call this place their home. Sadly, the loss of the Amazon rainforest already threatens the lives of all the animal and plant species, causing many to become endangered and even extinct. Nearly 70 percent of deforestation in the Amazon is caused by cattle ranching. Seventeen percent of the Amazon was believed to have been destroyed as of 2018. Scientists warn that if deforestation passes a threshold, the Amazon, the “lungs of our planet,” may never recover. Raoni Metuktire, chief of the indigenous Brazilian Kayapó people, gives a heartfelt plea to the urgency of this dire situation. “We call on you to stop what you are doing, to stop the destruction, to stop your attack on the spirits of the Earth. If the land dies, if our Earth dies, then none of us will be able to live, and we too will all die.” There is little time. By switching to a vegan diet and an eco-conscious lifestyle, we can help halt the alarming rate of global warming and prevent further destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
2020-05-28 861 Views
The Amazon rainforest is believed to have been formed during the Eocene Era some 55 million years ago. The rainforest encompasses 40 percent of the South American continent, extending across eight countries. The Amazon includes the drainage basin of the Amazon River, the world’s largest river by volume, with over 1,100 tributaries. The biodiversity of plants in the Amazon is considered the greatest on Earth, with as many as 80,000 plant species. Seventy five percent are endemic and can only be found in the Amazon. Many plant species in the rainforest serve as traditional medicine for the indigenous people. At least 41 different plant species in the Amazon in Brazil treat varying degrees of malaria, one of the tropics’ most fatal diseases. The native people also use the plants and trees as an important source of food and raw material for non-timber forest products.Did you know that the Amazon rainforest is known as the “lungs of the Earth?” Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between the health of the Amazon and the health of our planet. An estimated 16,000 tree species and 390 billion individual trees exist in this amazing jungle. Moreover, 40,000 of the plant species found in the Amazon rainforest are known to play a critical role in regulating the global climate. However, this crucial life-sustaining rainforest is threatened by deforestation and global warming. “All the evidence points to that direction: ‘that if we stop animal raising our planet will cool down.’”
2020-05-19 1819 Views
Today, we take you on an adventure to subtropical South America to visit one of the wonders of Argentina and Brazil in our program titled “The Astounding Falls of the Iguazu River.” The Iguazu River and its unmistakable cataract falls are the natural territorial boundary between Argentina and Brazil, making it one of the most spectacular international borders in the world. Visited by over a million tourists every year, the Iguazu Falls are ranked as the most popular natural attraction in both countries. In 1934, Iguazu was declared a national park of Argentina, and five years later, Iguaçu National Park was established on the Brazilian side. Approximately 50 years after this, both reserves were listed as World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Unfortunately, human activity is taking a toll on the Iguazu region. The Iguazu region is a place of astounding yet fragile beauty, and we sincerely thank all governments, organizations, and individuals working to safeguard the falls of the Iguazu River and the amazing life that surround them.
2020-05-08 984 Views
With 1.03 million hectares of awe-inspiring views, spectacular sandstone plateaus, sheer cliffs, gorges, and swamps teeming with life, the Greater Blue Mountains Area provides a significant representation of Australia’s biodiversity. Situated 60 to 180 kilometers (37 to 111 miles) inland of Sydney in New South Wales, this natural wonder is a unique place for the study of the evolution of Australia’s eucalypt vegetation. It also contains species of immense global significance, such as the critically endangered ancient Wollemi pine, a “living fossil”, that is one of the world’s oldest and rarest conifer trees. On November 29, 2000, the Greater Blue Mountains Area was listed as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to preserve its geographical and cultural importance. The name “Blue Mountains” stems from the dreamlike blue haze that seems to envelop the area. The Greater Blue Mountains Area are home to over 400 different species of animals. The Greater Blue Mountains Area is managed and protected under national legislation, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The major challenges include inappropriate tourism and recreation activities, loss of biodiversity, and the impacts of climate change.
2020-03-10 957 Views
One of my favorite spots is Koekohe Beach, where we may see its magically impressive Moeraki Boulders. These outstanding boulders are an unusual geological phenomenon that have been millions and millions of years in the making. Now famous, they have entertained countless travelers and have been playfully dubbed the “Bowling Balls of the Giants,” “Alien’s Brains,” “Dinosaur Eggs,” and the “Stonehenge of New Zealand.” The biggest of the boulders at Koekohe Beach, New Zealand, weigh up to seven tonnes. The Moeraki Boulders of New Zealand reach up to two meters in diameter. Each boulder is adorned with unique geometrical patterns like the reptilian scales of a dragon. For hundreds of years, they have ignited the imaginations of many sightseers who have come to this otherwise solitary stretch of New Zealand coastline. There are 50 boulders remaining in Koekohe Beach, which are now protected by New Zealand law. Since 1971, laws in New Zealand were passed to ensure that the unique Moeraki Boulders be protected, just like other national treasures including us Hooker’s sea lions.
2020-01-15 1034 Views