UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site- Ujung Kulon National Park, Indonesia
Site Name: Ujung Kulon National Park
Date of Inscription: 1991
Area: 78,525 ha
Criteria: vii, x
The Ujung Kulon National Park has a magnificent landscape surrounded by sea, a succession of vegetation, and volcanic activity. The place is of great interest because of the several endangered plants and animals and being the last and most important natural habitat of single-horned Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus). The park houses the last viable natural population of this species which is approximately 60 individuals. The Ujung Kulon is located in the southwestern tip of Java, on the Sunda shelf. The property also consists of Ujung Kulon Peninsular and several offshore islands, besides the nature reserve of Krakatoa Volcano. Because of volcanoes’ study and the site contains the largest remaining area of lowland rainforests in the Java plain, it is of great significance. The park also sets an excellent example for the ongoing evolution of geological processes after the Krakatau eruption in 1883. This volcano has a very significant role in studying current volcanic eruptions.
The park is the last significant habitat of the most endangered, single-horned Javan Rhinoceros. The place houses 57 rare species of plant, 35 species of mammal, 72 species of reptiles and amphibian, and 240 birds (Periodic report summary).
The current threats are low to this property compared to the previous years. The hunting of Javan Rhinoceros was the central issue, but due to some strict management plans, the hunting of Rhinos is not seen in the past 22 years. The rhino population faces challenges regarding the overabundance of Arenga obtusifolia, which is native palm species, because of which there is a reduction in the natural habitat of the rhino.
The Strategy and Action Plan for the conservation of Rhinos in Indonesia (2007–2017) have helped in the survival of the rhino species by making various plans and processes and highlighted some park-like threats: inbreeding, global warming, and human pressure.
Description of the site
The Ujung Kulon National Park is situated at 102o02'32"- 105o37'37'’E and 06o30'43'’-06o52'17' ‘S (Mujiono 2009); at the extreme south-western tip of Java on the Sunda shelf (Gallegos et al. 2005) in the Sumur and Cimanggu sub-district, Pandeglang district and Banten Province (Mujiono 2009). The park is covered by the Gunung Payung (480 m) in the west and by the Gunung Honje in the east (Santiapillai et al 1990). The Ujung Kulon National Park includes the Ujung Kulon peninsula, surrounding reefs, and marine area, including some offshore islands, namely, Handeuleum, Peucang, and Panaitan (Peggie 2012) and including the natural reserve of Krakatau (Gallegos et al. 2005).
The park was a nature reserve in 1921(Krakatoa area). Two more nature reserve areas were formed in 1937. Ujung Kulon Nature was created in 1958. In 1992, all the natural reserves (Ujung Kulon Peninsula, Panaitan Island, the Krakatoa Islands’ nature reserves) got combined into a national park (Claudino 2019). This property was declared as a World Heritage site in 1991. The park has the largest area of lowland rainforests in the Jana plain and habitats like a swamp, mangrove, beach forest, and coral reefs. Almost 40% area of the site has a marine area (Gallegos 2005).
The mean annual rainfall in the park is 3250 mm; the heaviest rainfall is recorded between October and September. Between May and September the site faces a driest period. The mean temperature observed is between 65% and 100% (Claudine 2019).
The property is a prominent example of the evolution of geographical processes having different environments after the Krakatoa eruption in 1883. The park has a mix of the natural vegetation of the lowlands, tropical rainforest, grasslands, beach forests, mangrove forests, and coral reefs. The vegetation is mainly semi-evergreen rainforest which is mainly by secondary growth due to the volcanic eruption. The vegetation primarily consists of palms and wild sugarcane Arenga pinnata, A. obtusifolia, and rattan Calamus melanoloma, among other rattan species (World Heritage datasheet). The palm forest covers almost 50%, probably because of long-past volcanic disturbance; At least 50 rare plant species are also present. (Claudine 2019).
The property is home to various endemic monkeys. Various carnivores like Asiatic Wild Dog (Cuon alpinus), Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus), Javan mongoose (Herpestes javanicus), Javan leopard (Panthera pardus melas), and the fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) can be found. The Javan tiger (Panthera tigris sondaicus) got extinct in the late 1970s (World heritage datasheet). There are several ungulates species found in the park. (World heritage datasheet). A total of 177 species of butterflies are found in the park (Peggie 2012). Twenty-one amphibians, 65 reptiles were recorded in the park. Among these, there are 20 species of lizards, 38 species of snakes, five species of turtles, and two species of crocodile are present in the park (Milto & Lukin 2020).
A rich avifauna houses the park, which is more than 270 species. Among the category of reptiles and amphibians, there are two species of python and two species of crocodile, and many frogs and turtles have been recorded. The marine fauna is also found in abundance in the archipelago, with deep water and reef species (Claudino. 2019).
The Ujung Kulon National Park is mainly known for the presence of the Javan rhino (Rhinoceros
sondaicus sondaicus) which is only restricted to this park’s boundaries. However, it is very disappointing that the population of Javan Rhino is deteriorating for the last 25 years. There are almost 65 species of Javan Rhino in the world, out of which 60 are present in the park; this species is also listed in the Critically Endangered on IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species. In another study done by Hariyadi et al. 2011, the Javan population’s estimation was done using the mark-recapture method. From April 2008 to September 2009, 32 rhinos (mean value) were recorded in the park (Hariyadi et al. 2011).
However, studies suggest that the carrying capacity of the Ujung Kulon National Park has reached its maximum extent, and the park can not support more rhinos (strategy and action plan for the conservation of rhinos in Indonesia, 2007).
Current status and management intervention of the Site
The central government heads the park under the Ministry of Forestry by the technical implementation unit of the Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation . The stakeholders from the local, national and international community reconciled, which has improved the conservation of its values and integrity (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
According to IUCN World Heritage Outlook 2020, the Ujung Kulon National Park is in the category of “good with some concerns.” According to the recent assessment done by IUCN, the infringe and illegal activities are relatively low. However, there are still some threats like poaching, buffalo grazing, and illegal shrimp fry collection. Although no poaching of Rhinoceros is seen during the past 22 years, many bird species in the UKNP have a high market value; thus, bird poaching is commonly seen in the park. Other mammals like mouse deer, banteng, and green turtles are also being hunted. The Javan Rhino species face a massive challenge from Arenga obtusifolia, a native palm species; due to its overabundance, the rhino faces a reduction in the habitat and food plants (IUCN Outlook 2020). The high population of Javan banteng (Bos javanicus) also harms the rhino population as the Benteng’s feeding ecology overlaps with the rhinos (strategy and action plan for the conservation of rhinos in Indonesia).
Krakatau is part of the property and part of its outstanding Universal Value (OUV); still, it is a cause of Volcanic activities, earthquakes, and tsunami, which can cause harm to the property. The volcanic eruption of 1883 caused a tsunami of 15 meters, which damaged many forests along the beaches (IUCN Outlook 2020).
Management plans have pressurized the long-term survival of the Javan Rhinocerous and other endangered species of the park. In Indonesia The Strategy and Action Plan for the conservation of Rhinos (2007–2017) were imitative, developed with broad, open, and transparent, participatory processes that have helped in the future survival of the critically endangered Javan Rhino species. Under this plan, a new sanctuary was developed within the park, and a new site outside the park and these additional sites served as a new extra habitat for the Rhino species. This plan also showcased the threats like inbreeding, global warming, and human pressure (World Heritage Site).
The park is getting support at the national and international levels for conservation of the park. The area got funded by international bodies like UNEP, UNDP, World Bank, and UNESCO (Periodic report summary, 2003). WWF is also contributed to saving the last few Javan Rhinos of the park. The WWF runs several projects in the UKNP through its global Asian, Rhino, and Elephant Action Strategy (AREAS) (strategy and action plan for the conservation of rhinos in Indonesia, 2007). At the national level, the property gets funded by the central government’s budget. The local communities depend directly on the park for living, causing stress to the park’s diversity. Several tours are being organized and executed by the trained staff from the local community to promote eco-tourism to minimize it. This also provides additional income to the local communities (Periodic report summary, 2003).
Legislatively, the park has its own Rhino Management Protection Unit (RMPU) responsible for the implementation of programmers’ (Periodic report summary, 2003). The management plan (2001–20) of the park is a long-term management plan that is working to increase local community welfare, develop eco-tourism, protect flora and fauna, and establish the role of Ujung Kulon NP in science and education and sustainable utilization of biodiversity. The poaching of rhino has not been observed since 1992; however, more research is needed on rhino’s age and sex distribution. There is a need for research on marine biodiversity. The management plan 2001–2020 also monitors the Banteng as the main competitor for Rhinos; medicinal plant potential analysis; primate ecology and sea turtle monitoring; and Dugong, ornamental fish, and coral reef was monitoring every six months (Periodic report summary, 2003).
The overall assessment of protection and management of Ujung Kulon National Park according to IUCN Outlook is considered most effective (IUCN Outlook 2020). Rhino Protection Units (RPUs) monitor the illegal activities and collect the data forwarded to Park Ranger teams. There are two recent RPUs established for marine patrolling (World Heritage Site). The Rhino Protection Units get financial and technical support from the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) (strategy and action plan for conserving rhinos in Indonesia, 2007). Despite having some conflicts between the local people and UKNP Authority, the overall relationship between these two is increasing (World Heritage Site).
The property faces some challenges like pollution. Java in Indonesia causes pollutions like domestic, agricultural, and industrial pollution. Most of the population of Indonesia relies on Java and Bali for the food supply, which is 70% (Gallegos et al. 2005). Poaching of rhinos was a severe threat; however, on the establishment of the Rhino Protection Units, it was controlled in the late 1990s. The demand for rhino parts in the market was the main reason for poaching, and poverty was posing an anthropogenic threat to the rhino population (strategy and action plan for the conservation of rhinos in Indonesia, 2007). The Panaitan island, located at the west edge of Java Island, comes under the Ujung Kulon National Park. A vibrant coral reef ecosystem is present on the island. Due to the destructive fishing methods, the coral reef decreases, causing damage to the entire ecosystem (Putra et al., 2019).
Factors affecting the property
- Hunting and trapping
- Overexpansion of native species
· Anonymous1,2003. Indonesia Ujung Kulon National Park. Periodic repot cycle 1, section II, UNECSO.
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· Putra, T.W., Siagian, H., Dirgantara, D., Rifaldi, R., 2019, March. Coral Reefs Condition Assessment in East Waters of Panaitan Island, Ujung Kulon National Park. In IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science (Vol. 246, №1, p. 012059). IOP Publishing.
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