Hiking in the rainforest
I live in New Guinea, the largest tropical island in the world. The island is divided into 2 territories. The eastern half is an independent state of Papua New Guinea whereas the western half is the territory of Indonesia. One of my hobbies is hiking in the Table Mountain or Arfak mountains or even Mansinam and Numfor islands. These places are still covered with rainforest. When I walk under the canopy of the giant trees, I can see various plants, birds, insects and mushrooms. I like to take a lot of pictures of them and write some bird watching or travel articles in my blog Ecotourism Manokwari. For some people, hiking in a jungle is not a good idea but for me hiking is a way where I can feel closer to nature. I can breath fresh air and I can appreciate the richness of a forest with its high biodiversity. Hiking is a good sport because it can improve the blood circulation in my body and refresh my mind from routine city living activities.
Tropical rainforest, although far from us, plays a very important role in our life. It absorbs the CO2 gases which we emit every day from our daily activities. These gases are believed to be the major cause of global warming. By hiking through the jungle of the forest, we will be more appreciative to this precious environment and will give our strong commitment in preserving it.
The rainforest in the Arfak Mountains
The rainforest can easily be seen in the Arfak mountains of New Guinea island of the Republic of Indonesia. Because their slopes are steep, they cannot easily be accessed by loggers and plantation companies. So, the natural topographical condition of the Arfak mountains protects it from being cleared or destroyed for exploitative economic reason. Arfak mountains are located at the south of Dorey bay. I like taking pictures of the mountains while I jog or walk in the morning along the ship harbor of Manokwari city that is located at the north side of the bay. To go to the Arfak mountains, tourists can take a rent car. The price is quite expensive i.e. 2 million rupiahs or around 200 US dollars (go and return). The SUV cars that are usually used to transport people and goods to the Arfak mountains are Toyota Hilux. Every car can carry up to four passengers. It takes around 2 hours from Manokwari city to Kwau village in Arfak mountains. Besides watching birds there, tourists can also see how the indigenous Papuan people use herbs that grow in their surrounding tropical rainforest as herbal medicine to cure various kinds of diseases.
Picture of bower bird from the tropical forest of Arfak mountains
I have said above that one of my activities while hiking in the forest is bird watching. I often walk with foreign tourists coming from such countries as Russia, Germany, the Netherlands and the most recent (i.e. this morning - from Hungary). I or the tourists take pictures of beautiful birds. The most beautiful bird in the world is perhaps paradise bird. I have seen magnificent birds of paradise (Cincinnurus Magnificus) dancing in the slopes of Syioubri and Kwau villages of Arfak mountains the morning several times . I also saw Lesser Paradise Bird (Paradisaea Minor) in Senopi village of Tambrauw mountains. They are really beautiful birds. They have yellow and brown plumes. These birds, besides other tropical birds, are important seed dispersers. They eat the fruits of certain plants and drop the seeds several miles away from where they took the fruits. Another bird that is unique is bower bird (amblyornis inornata). Male bower birds build arch structures from twigs as their display stages to attract female bower birds. Male vogelkop bower bird like to decorate their bowers with brightly colored items such as flowers, fruits, and recently plastic wastes to attract their females.
Picture of Butterfly
The tropical rainforest, for example the Table Mountain, near Manokwari city of Indonesia, is not only reach of beautiful birds such as hornbills and cockatoo but also butterflies and a lot of species of insects. Butterflies usually can be seen in the morning flying around open spaces such as road and footpath to find nectar from the wild flowers that grow in the jungle. I have seen beautiful butterflies with the combination of bright and dark colors in the Table Mountain. Although butterflies are traded around the world among insect collectors, I prefer to only promote eco-tourism to foreign tourists and recommend them not to catch butterflies while hiking in the forest.
Picture of Eupholus Beetle
Besides butterflies, other insects that I often see in the forest are grasshopper, dragon fly, mosquito, millipede and etc. Last July 2010, I and Rhett Butler went hiking in the Table Mountain and Arfak Mountains of Manokwari regency of the Republic of Indonesia. Manokwari is the capital city of West Papua province. Rhett is the founder of mongabay.com - a website which focuses its contents on rainforest. Rhett wanted to see an eupholus beetle whose colors are blue and black. The beetle looked like a plastic toy but it was really a live insect when we saw it while walking in the jungle of the Table Mountain. Insects communicate from one to another by releasing specific sounds. They use sounds because their visions are blocked by the leaves or tree trunks of the forest. In forest ecosystem, insects usually eat leaves. They will become the prey of small birds, or green lizards. Beetles, especially the rare species have become expensive items among insect collectors.
I have composed a simple brochure for those who want to travel to New Guinea island for trekking and watching birds in Arfak mountains. Please, read, download and print it for your reference: Hiking and Birdwatching in Arfak mountains of Manokwari tour package before flying to Indonesia.
Photograph of Plastic Wastes and Bottles
I have to be honest in writing this article. The photographs of the rainforest that I have taken using my digital camera Sony Cyber-shot DSC a SteadyShot DSC-W310 are not always beautiful. Of course the natural scenery is beautiful but it is now being spoiled by the plastic wastes and empty bottles that people throw in the jungle. Some city dwellers in Manokwari irresponsibly dump their domestic and industrial wastes in the Table Mountain. I deliberately show the following pictures to raise awareness among all of us about the importance of keeping our environment clean. It is not wise to dump our wastes in the jungle because they might contain toxic materials that are harmful to the animals and plants in the forest. If the forest is contaminated with toxic materials, the spring water that comes out at the foot of the mountains cannot be consumed by human and animals anymore.
Interested in visiting New Guinea island of Indonesia
I am writing this article to promote eco-tourism in Manokwari city of Indonesia. If you are interested in visiting this city and travel around the towns and villages in this area and need a guide to accompany you, please, contact me - Charles Roring via my email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be happy to arrange your trip and be your tour guide in this largest tropical island in the world.