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Monday, August 15, 2016

Kelam Hill, Natural Habitat of Nepenthes clipeata


Kelam Hill is the second largest rock in the world, the largest stone is the Great Stone in Australia. Located in the subdistrict Kelam Permai, it is approximately 19 km from the Sintang district capital. To reach the Kelam Hill Conservation Area, you can use bus from Pontianak to Sintang in eight hours. This public transportation operates every day. If you have limited time, you can use airplane, the flight will get you to Sintang for 45 minutes. From Sintang, you can use pioneering public transportation for about 30 minutes to Kelam Hill Conservation Area.

Kelam hill has 900 meters above sea level height, with 600 meters vertical cliff walls. At the foothills  we can see a small area covered with tropical rainforest with some tropical tree species like meranti (Shorea sp), Bangeris (Kompassia sp), Tengkawang (Dipterocarpus sp), Kebas-kebas (Prodocarpus ceae). Moreover, it can be found in various types of orchids species. This conservation area is also habitat for some rare animals such as the bear (Herlarctos malayanus), Armadillo (Manis javanica), bats (Hiropteraphilie sp) and various species of birds.
Read also: Interesting activity to do in Danau Sentarum National Park Heart of Borneo

The peaks are often covered by clouds, thats why at some spot, we can see masive moss covering the forest floor, stone or tree. It is easy to find some orchid species at the peaks. Alloy of tropical climate, high rugged mountains and very lack of nutrients made Bukit Kelam has a very unique micro climate to become habitat of an endemic  plants, Nepenthes clipeata. Bukit Kelam is the only natural habitat of these plants, it can be found growing on the cliff as wall creeper, or just crawling on stone.
Read also: Ornamental Plant from Peat forest in Heart of Borneo

Nepenthes clipeata, endemic pitcher plant species of Kelam Hill, Foto by Dony
Nepenthes clipeata in its natural habitat with some orchid species (Foto by Dony)
Since designated as a conservation area in 1992 with covers an ​​area of 520 hectares, Bukit Kelam has experienced two massive fire that destroyed allmost al of the ecosystem. All the large trees which formerly covering all the hill cliff are lost in a short time. The first fire occurred when drought hit in 1992 and the second occurred in 1997.

Before the wildfires, to reach the summit of Kelam Hill, visitor must climb the roots of large trees that cover the cliff. Today, the government has built ladders at some spots with different heights according to the height of the cliff that difficult to pass. The iron ladders located on the westface of Kelam Hill.

Up until now, Kelam Hill faces a variety of threats, this conservation area was surounded by palm oil plantations, the big trees at the foothills threatened by logging, and farming activity around this conservation area. While then, the highly rare and endemic species that can be found on the hill cliff, Nepenthes clipeata - are threatened by collectors.
Land clearing around Kelam Hill still threatening this Conservation Area
Apart from those problems, Bukit Kelam save a great resources. The natural sceneries of Kelam Hill are potensial for tourism, its rock cliffs are potential for outdoor activities - especially rock climbing--, the unique plants (especially Nepenthes and Orchids) are potential for ornamental plants.

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