Indonesia continues to register areas of significant natural importance, the latest of which are the recognition of eight additional National Geo Parks across the country. The eight join seven other National Geoparks in Indonesia, and four UNESCO Global Geoparks.
UNESCO Global Geoparks are geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.
They are especially valuable as an area’s geological heritage, welded to other aspects of the area’s natural and cultural heritage, enhance awareness and understanding of key issues facing society, such as using the earth’s resources sustainably, mitigating the effects of climate change and reducing natural disasters-related risks.
Beyond that, UNESCO Global Geoparks give local people a sense of pride in their region and strengthen their identification with the area and often lead to the creation of innovative local enterprises, new jobs and high quality training courses, resulting in fresh sources of revenue generated through geo-tourism, while the geological resources of the area are protected.
Indonesia Minister of Tourism, Arief Yahya, together with the National Geo Park Committee, in December 2018 provided eight National Geo Park certificates, three in West Sumatra alone: Silokek, Sianok Maninjau and Sawahlunto, along with Natuna, Riau; Pongkor, West Java; Karangbolong, Central Java; Banyuwangi, East Java and Meratus, South Kalimantan.
With the recognition of these eight spectacular locations Indonesia now has a total of 15 National Geoparks including Toba Caldera, North Sumatra; Mt. Merangin, Jambi; Mt. Belitung, Bangka Belitung; Mt. Bojonegoro, East Java; Mt. Tambora, West Nusa Tenggara; Mt. Maros, South Sulawesi and Raja Ampat, West Papua.
In addition to its National Geoparks, Indonesia currently has four UNESCO Global Geoparks, recognized by for their rich natural heritage value. They are:
Mt Rinjani Geopark
Mt Rinjani, Lombok, was added as a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2018.The park features a variety of cultural and geological sites and is the highest peak in the volcanic complex. The caldera of the Samalas Volcano, filled with a combination of meteoric and hydrothermal water, has formed a lake named Segara Anak.
In the middle of the caldera emerges a young volcanic cone, Mt. Rombongan and Mt. Barujari. The youngest volcanic complex, Mt. Rinjani, was formed approximately 12,000 to 6,000 years ago. Two volcanic cones existed prior to the eruption of the Samalas or Old Rinjani volcano in the 13th century, the Samalas Volcano and Mt. Rinjani.
The eruption of Samalas in 1257 resulted in the formation of a huge caldera and pyroclastic flow in Kokok Putik and caused the collapse of part of Old Rinjani. This eruption changed the entire landscape, buried the old civilization and created a stage for the beginning of a new cultural era.
The Batur Global Geopark in Bali was included on UNESCO’s list in September 2012.Located in Bangli regency, the Geopark features two volcanic calderas as well as a complete volcano landscape with caldera walls, cones and craters, geothermal phenomena, a lake, lava flows, pyroclastic flows and tephra.
In addition to admiring the park's magical natural heritage, visitors can also learn about the area at the Batur UNESCO Global Geopark Museum.
Mount Sewu Geopark
Mount Sewu Global Geopark covers three regencies, Gunungkidul, Wonogiri and Pacitan, as well as three provinces, Yogyakarta, Central Java and East Java.Featuring a total of 33 geosites, the area is a classic tropical karst landscape and is dominated by limestone.
According to UNESCO there is still tectonic activity in the area, as Mt. Sewu is located in front of an active subduction zone – the crash scene between the Indian Ocean, Australian and Eurasian plates.
The Ciletuh-Palabuhanratu Global Geopark is located in Sukabumi, West Java.According to UNESCO, the park is characterised by a rare geological diversity that can be classified into three zones: the subduction zone uplifted rocks, the Jampang Plateau landscape and the ancient magmatic zone shifting and fore arc evolution.
The landscape features waterfalls, beaches, geysers, rivers, mountains, wilderness reserves and turtle conservation sites, allowing visitors to try various activities, such as surfing, paragliding, rafting, canoeing and waterfall rock climbing.
Frontiers reporting with sources: Jakarta Post; UNESCO
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