Indonesian archipelago has more than 50 national parks. Twelve of them are located on Java Island. These national parks serve as environmental protection. They are also the house of some endangered species endemic to the island of Java.
Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park
Located in East Java, this national park has two volcano groups. Covering an area of 5,250 hectares at an altitude of 2,100m, this park is one of the largest on the island. The first is the ancient volcano complex, called the Tengger. In this group, there is one caldera with five volcanic cones in the middle
of it, namely Mount Bromo, Batok, Kursi, Watangan and Widodaren. All are still active except Mount Batok. The caldera is surrounded by vast sea of sand and 7 more active volcanoes. The other volcano group is the Semeru. This second group has 9 volcanoes, one of which is Mount Semeru, the highest volcano on Java Island. The ecosystem in this park is ranging from tropical rainforest to a desert-like environment. Some endangered and protected flora such as Javanese Edelweiss and some 200 species of orchids grow in this park. Interesting culture of local people with its famous rite called Yadya Kasadha is also a main tourist attraction.
Alas Purwo National Park
Literally means “ancient forest”, Alas Purwo is believed by local people to be the first land emerged from the Indian Ocean. This park encompasses an area of 434 square kilometers made up of monsoon forest, mangroves, savanna and beaches. Endangered animals living inside the park include Javanese Bull, Silvered Leaf Monkey, Hawksbill and Green Turtle. Its location in Blambangan peninsula at the southeastern tip of Java Island makes the beaches perfect for surfing. The internationally recognized surfing spot known as the G-Land is located on Grajagan Beach.
Ujung Kulon National Park
Situated at the western tip of Java Island, Ujung Kulon National Park covers an area of 1,206 square kilometers and almost half of it lies under the Indian Ocean. Included in this park are the legendary volcanic island group of Krakatoa and some small islands with beaches which are also famous for their surfing spots. Following a huge explosion of the Kratatoa in 1883, Ujung Kulon, which is no longer inhabited by human, gradually becomes repository of Java’s rare species of flora and fauna and its remaining lowland forest. This park is the natural habitat of the critically endangered Javan Rhinoceros and another 35 rare species of mammals. In 1991, the park was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Meru Betiri National Park
Meru Betiri National Park is located on the southern coast of East Java province and encompasses an area of 580 square kilometers. There are at least six volcanoes, four rivers and several beaches in the area. This diverse topography produces four different types of vegetation: lowland tropical land forest, swamp, mangrove and coastal vegetations. The beaches are the nesting ground for endangered leatherback, hawksbill, olive ridley and green turtles. Meru Betiri Natiional Park is also the home of more than 200 species of protected mammals and birds including leopard, bull, flying squirrel, panther and many others. This park was also the natural habitat of Javan Tiger before it became extinct in 1976.
Baluran National Park
Baluran National Park is located on a peninsula on the northern coast of East Java province. With a total area of 25,000 hectares, this park consists of a mountainous area and lowland rainforest at the south, mangrove, coastal and salt-water forest along the coastline and savanna grassland. The highest peak is Mount Baluran that stood 1,247 meters above sea level. The vegetation and wildlife varied widely. Protected animals living in this park include Javan Panther and Bull.
Gunung Ciremai National Park
Sit on the slope of Mount Ciremai, one of many active volcanoes on Java Island, this national park is the home of Javan Eagle, a rare species of raptor which had became Indonesia’s national symbol. Gunung Ciremai National Park is located in West Java province and covers a total area of 15,000 hectares. The vegetation consists of subalpine forest. The lowland rainforest located on the foot of Mount Ciremai had now been converted to agriculture.
Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park
Gede Panggrango national park is located in the valley between two active volcanoes in the centre of West Java Province, Mount Gede and Mount Pangrango. With a total area of 150 square kilometers, this national park offers protection to more than 200 species of rare birds including the famous Javan Trogon. It is also the natural habitat of the beautiful Javanese Edelweiss. Various biological studies and conservation researches had taken place in this park. UNESCO declared this site as World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 1977.
Gunung Halimun National Park
This national park lies on an area of 400 square kilometers in West Java Province and consists of two volcanoes, Mount Salak and Halimun. The most famous endangered species living in Gunung Halimun National Park is the Javan Lutung or West Javan Gibbon. The park is actually the only safe home for this poor species. Besides Javan Lutung, this park also inhabited by more than 140 species of rare birds.
Gunung Merapi National Park
Gunung Merapi National Park is located on the slope of Mount Merapi in Central Java, the most active volcano in the world. The last explosion of Merapi occurs at the end of 2010 leaving half of this national park severely damaged. Unlike other volcanoes in Java Island, the area surrounding Merapi is densely populated. Villages can be found only four kilometers away from the top of the volcano. Rare species of animals living in this national park includes Coconut Squirrel, Javan Deer, Javan Eagle, and many other species of mammals, birds and reptiles.
Gunung Merbabu National Park
Located nearby Merapi National Park, the topography and ecosystem of this national park is very much the same with the Merapi. Though literally means “mount of ashes”, unlike Merapi, Mount Merbabu is dormant. Covering an area of 57 square kilometers, this park is probably the smallest on the island.