Site Nomination for Peat Site Profiles in Southeast Asia
Protected Area
Name of Site: Berbak National Park
Country: Indonesia
GPS Point: Latitude: 1°08' - 1°43' S Longitude: 104°05' - 104°26' E
Location & Access: Berbak National Park is located in Tanjung Jabung District, Jambi Province. It can be reached by car or boat in three hours from the city of Jambi. From Jambi, we will travel along Batanghari river by a speed boat then turn right and travel along ‘Air Hitam Dalam’ river for 2.5 – 3 hours, or straight to Nipah Panjang for 4-5 hours. From Nipah Panjang we will go to Air Hitam Laut Village for 4-5 hours through South China Sea (travel to Air Hitam Laut must takes into account the weather and wave conditions of South China Sea that are notoriously violent)

The west entrance to this national park can be reached by traveling along ‘Air Hitam’ river.

Taman Nasional Berbak is located on the east coast. This site begins approximately 10 km inland from the Berhala Strait, extending down the coast to Sungai Benu. The eastern boundary was revised in 1985 to exclude the coastal settlements that extend from Sungai Bemu in the south to Sungai Remau in the north. The city of Jambi lies approximately 50 km to the west and reserve headquarters are located at Nipa Panjang, 10 km to the northwest. Access is difficult and time-consuming due to poor infrastructure. The entrance to the park at Desa Air Hitam Laut can be reached in approximately five hours by motor boat from the reserve headquarters, although travel time may double during the wet season

Total Area: 162700.00 hectare(s)
Background of Site: Berbak National Park forms part of the vast alluvial plain of East Sumatra, which occupies approximately one quarter of the island, and is one of Indonesia's largest swamp forest reserves. The region is almost entirely flat, being dissected by a number of levee-banked, meandering rivers that drain in a northeasterly direction toward the coast. Along the coast and lower sections of the rivers, extensive beach ridges and intertidal mudflats occur.

0 – 20 m asl

The area contains 60,000 ha of freshwater swamp forest and 110,000 ha of undisturbed peatswamp forest. Its eastern boundary is bordered by five villages, some muddy coast and a small fringe of mangrove forest (1,500 ha).

Climatic conditions:        Temperature: 25 – 28oC; Rainfall: 2,300 mm/yr or more than 200 mm monthly average in 5-6 months and less than 2 months average with monthly average rainfall of 100 mm per month.

Soil:        Geological formation of the NP included in alluvial deposit formation. Soil type is organosol (peat) which is inundated trough out the year and acidic.

Ecology:        The reserve includes several important sites for waterbirds, the most important one at the sandy beach near the mouth of the river Cemara. At least 24 water bird species have been sighted, including the Asian Dowitcher and Nordmann's Greenshank. At least 34 species of freshwater fish and brackish water fish are known from the rivers.

Physical Vegetation:        Principal vegetation: Peatswamp forest, more than 40m high. Freshwater swamp, 50m high with emergents of up to 70m. Riverine forest: up to 50m high (with many palms).

Others:        Berbak National Park is the largest swamp forest conservation in South East Asia that has not been exposed to human exploitation. Its uniqueness lies in the combination of peat swamp forest and freshwater swamp forest that are widely distributed on the East coast of Sumatra.Berbak National Park offers you a natural conservation area which consists of Peat Swamp Forest and Freshwater Swamp Forest on the East cost of Jambi Province.
Above all, Berbak NP is protected nationally and internationally as RAMSAR site.

Significant Value of Site:
- Biodiversity
- Hydrology
- Soil/Carbon
- Cultural & Historical Value
- Socio-economic

Biodiversity e.g. plant, animals etc:
Among plant species found in the NP is ‘Meranti’ (Shorea sp) and various palms including endanger palm species of ‘Daun Payung’ (Johanesteijmannia altifrons) and new palm species of Lepidonia kingii (Lorantaceae) which has red purple large flower.

The NP is also habitat for Sumatera Rhinocerous (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), Tapir (Tapirus indicus), Java mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus), 300 bird species of Chinesse egret (Egretta eulophotus), Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus), all species of kingfisher (Alcedinidae spp), white- winged wood duck (Cairina scutulata), Asian Giant River Terrapins (Orlitia borneensis), and River terrapin (Batagur baska). Hundreds or thousands of migrant birds can be found flying in group.

The southern border is the Benu River and the site is bisected by the river Air Hitam Laut. The rivers are edged with Nypa fruticans, then Pandanus tectorius and, further inland, riverine forest dominated by Mammea sp. The maximum coastal tidal range is 2 - 2.5 metres decreasing to 1 metre a further 10 km upstream. The forest is inundated for a large part of the year. The rivers are up to 20 m deep and contain acid peatwater. In the dry season brackish water penetrates up to 10 km inland. The two major rivers of the reserve, both have their origin outside the reserve and drain over extensive peat deposits resulting in low pH and staining by suspended and dissolved organic material.


Cultural and Historical Value:
•        Year 1935, the Dutch Government designated wildlife sanctuary area in Jambi of about 190,000 ha.
•        Year 1991, Berbak Wildlife Sanctuary was legalized as wetland habitat area of about 163,000 ha.
•        Year 1992, the function of Berbak Wildlife Sanctuary was changed to Berbak National Park area of about 162,700 ha.


Tourism areas, including:
•        Air Hitam dalam (Deep Black Water): Tourism for tracking in the forest, traveling with canoe with bird watching, fishing, arboretum of flora collection.
•        Air Hitam Laut (Sea Black Water): lodging, tracking in the forest, traveling with canoe with bird watching, fishing, arboretum of flora collection.
•        Sei Cemara: place for bird feeding ground, bird watching with binokuler and reference book of beach birds.
The best season for visit are March to November.

Designated use (status/legal classification):
- National Park/State Park|International recognition (e.g RAMSAR| Man & Biosphere Reserve (MBR) etc.)

Major Issues: Illegal logging
Forest fire
Site Jurisdiction & Administration: Berbak National Park was designated by Minister of Forestry Decree No. 258/Kpts-II/1992, located in Tanjung Jabung District, Jambi Province. Presidential Decree no.48, 1991 (RAMSAR Site). In addition to being nationally protected, Berbak National Park is also internationally protected after being determined as International Wet Land in RAMSAR Convention in 1992.
Peatland Type: Lowland
Management activities: a) Past
Wetlands International – Indonesia Programme carried out a DGIS8-funded study on the burnt areas in 2002 (WI-IP, 2002). According to the report on this study, “fire has changed the properties of the peat swamp forest ecosystem in Berbak.

The Management Plan produced for Berbak NP by Wetlands International – Indonesia Programme (WI-IP, 2000), reports that the fires of 1994 and during a prolonged dry season, related to the El-Niño phenomenon, and that jelutung and wood poachers – some from the Sembilang area – were responsible for initiating these and other remote fires. The plan also identifies ‘local communities’ and immigrants as being the cause of these problems.

The Climate Change and Fire Prevention in Indonesia project is undertaking trial replanting in the western part of Berbak NP, along the Air Hitam Laut. Use is made of the PT. PDIW nursery located at Kem Pembinaan, and local community members are involved. At the time of the survey in the area (5-8 October 2003)

Rehabilitation, Habitat Development and biodiversity conservation and the protection and safeguard of the forest area as well as the capacity building of the community

b) Current

c) Potential
To be integrated with tourism destination of Pulau Berhala which has high potential for coral reefs/marine tourism. Development of domestic and international tourism for nature, education, and culture tourism
Facilities & Activities Available on Site: Available fasilities are lodging, dock, trail, home stay, etc.
Institution Responsible for the Site:
Name of Organization: Ministry of Forestry Balai Taman Nasional Berbak
Postal Address: Ministry of Forestry
Balai Taman Nasional Berbak
Office address: Jl. Prof. Dr. Sri Sudewi M. Sofyan No. 4, Jambi, Indonesia,
Phone: 0062-741- 667983
Fax: 0
Nominated by:
Name: Lailan Syaufina
Organization: Bogor Agricultural University (IPB)