Gunung Gede Introduction 2

Written by on November 19, 2010 in Java Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park with 0 Comments

Gunung Gede National Park Introduction 2

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FLORA Gunung Gede-Pangrango is covered with splendid mountain forest and at present it is one of the last mountain forests of the West Java where the forest is still relatively undisturbed.
The park is situated between approximately 1,000 m and 3,019 m
and it include sub-montane (1,000-1,500 m), montane (1,500-2,400 m)
and sub-alpine (above 2,400 m) vegetation.
The high forest between 1,400 and 2,400 m has a very mixed composition.
The canopy is about 30-40 m high with an abundant development
of laurels (Litsea spp.), oaks (Lithocarpus spp. and Quercus spp.) and chesnuts (Castanopsis spp.).
Emergents of this forest include the grand rasamala (Altingia excelsa)
and the conifers (Podocarpus imbricatus and Podocarpus neriifolius).
The Puspa (Schima walichii) is common in West-Java’s rainforest
and often conspicuous by its reddish flush
that at times colours the whole forest canopy.
At the attitude of about Kandang Badak, the saddle at 2,400 m between Gunung Gede and Pangrango, one enters the sub-alpine or elfin forest.
This forest has only one stratum of smallish trees and a ground layer.
Due to their better resistance against crater gases, Vaccinium varingiaefolium, Rhododendron retusum and Myrsine avenis
are more common close to the crater area
even a pure Vaccinium varingiaefolium forest has developed.
One of the characteristic plants of the top areas of these mountains
is the Javanese Edelweiss (Anaphalis javanica).
The forest ecosystems can be grouped into : * Sub – montane (1,000-1,500 m a.s.1.) * Montane (1,500-2,400 m a.s.1.) * Sub – alpine/elfin (+2,400 m a.s.1.) Sub-montane forest has the hoghest diversity of plant life
and is characterized by large trees forming a tall canopy 30-40 m above the ground.
There tree layers can be identified, whose dominant sspecies are respectively : 1. the huge rasamala (Altingia excelsa) which can exceed 60 m and the chestnut Castanopsis argentea;
2. Antidesma tetandrum and several laurels (Litsea spp.) (approx. 10-20 m); 3. The Shrubs Ardisia fuliginosa and Dichrea febrifuga (approx. 3-5 m). Besides a rich ground flora containing begonias and ferns, many species of epiphyte are found growing non-parasitically
on twigs and branches: predominantly orchids, lianas and herbs.
One of the most easy to indentify is the bird’s nest fern (Asplenium nidus) : perched on trees its rosette of long ribbon-like leaves
can easily exceed 2 m in diameter.
Montane forest has a lower diversity of plants with noticeably fewer herb species than the sub-montane zone.
Common trees include pupsa (Schima walichii) which frequently gives a subtle red hue to the forest.
Also very noticeable are the conifers
Dacrycarpus imbricatus and Podacarpus neriifolius.
Mosses take over as the dominant epiphytes, being favoured by the cooler conditions of these cloud forests.
As one Climbs up into sub-alpine vegetation, diversity continues to decline. The zone is characterized by smaller trees, the dominant species of which is Vaccinium varingiaefolium.
Vegetation and rocks are profusely covered with “beardmoss”, actually, not a moss at all but the lichen Usnea.
Unique to this area is a grassland habitat dominated
by the tiny highland grass Isachne pangrangensis (named after the area), moss tussocks and clumps of the Javanese eidelweiss (Anaphalis javanica).
The eidelweiss is testament to the surprising fact
that many of the region’s high altitude plants have a close affinity
with those of the northern hemisphere.
These plant used the cooler conditions of the Eurasian mountain chains
to spread south-eastwards.
Other plants which may give Europeans a feeling of deja vu
are types of oak, buttercup, violet, strawberry and primrose.

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