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Bali's Botanic Garden, Indonesia

Volume 2 Number 2 - July 1993
Dr. Wayan Sumantera

The small island of Bali (5.632 square km.) is world famous for tourism. In Bali, can be found the youngest of the four Indonesian botanic gardens. It was opened on July 24th, 1959 under the name, Eka Karya Botanic Garden. It has the largest area of any of the Indonesian botanic gardens consisting of about 129.2 ha, with very beautiful scenery.

Location

Its location is just 50km. north of the capital of Bali, Denpasar. It is one hour drive by taxi from Bali International Airport, Ngurah Rai.

The Garden is situated in the mountain tourist resort, Bedugul. It occurs on the east slope of Bukit Tapak Hill, at an elevation of 1,250 to 1,400m. and is in front of Batukau Nature Reserve (15,390 ha) and near tourist sites such as Ulun Danu Temple, Lake of Beratan (377 ha), Bali Handara 18 hole golf course and a fruit and flower market at Candikuning.

The cool climate (average temperature 18ºC, annual rainfall 3,000 mm), clean air and beautiful scenery make this Garden popular for recreation in Bali. Students use the plant collection for extra curricular educational study. Many of the international visitors particularly like to see the orchid collection and many comment that it is a beautiful Garden.

The visitor numbers increase every year as the Garden becomes better known. In 1992, 131,491 visitors were recorded, consisting of 12,844 domestic and 8,647 international visitors.

Plant Collection

The total area of the Garden of 129,2 ha can be divided into 20 Vak, consist of 94 subVak. Each of these subdivisions will be planted with different plant families. There are three zones in the Garden: the Public Service Area with recreational facilities around the main gate; the Scientific Area in the middle as the collection area and the Forest Area in front of Batukau Nature Reserve as the maintained forest.

There are two native trees which predominate around the Garden: the Geseng Pine Tree (Casuarina junghuhniana Miq) and Cemara Pandak (Podocarpus javanicus). The Garden now has an extensive collection of the Gymnospermae, its largest collection.

In the Garden one can see the rare plant such as; Pinanga javana, Podocarpus javanicus, Rhododendron javanicum, Dodonaea viscosa, Garcinia celebica, Dicksonia blumei and Dysoxylum densi-florum (the plant mascot of Bali). There are also special collections from Bali, such as an Orchid Garden and Ceremonial Flora and Medicinal Gardens, based on Hindu culture. A Balinese traditional house (600 sq. m. in size) is used as an Ethnobotany Museum to demonstrate plant uses in Bali.

A census made in March 1993 noted that the Garden had 973 species in its collection, consisting of 135 families, 530 genera and including 219 wild species of Bali's orchids, 84 species ceremonial flora and 39 species of medicinal plant.

Development of the Garden

Eka Karya Botanic Garden, Bali, has become one of the conservation centres in Indonesia. Its mission is to coordinate and conduct conservation action through conservation research and public conservation education (Suhirman, 1992).

Besides the plant collection, there are supporting facilities such as five greenhouses, two lath house, a nursery, one ha in size, a laboratory, herbarium and a good botanical library.

In the future, two large ponds for an Aquatic Garden will be completed as well as the Centre for Research and Education in Plant Propagation, an Orchid Laboratory and Botanicarium with the theme "Flora and Balinese culture".

Future Prospects

Eka Karya Botanic Garden is an interesting place to visit with many beautiful views both inside and outside the garden (Lake of Beratan, Bali Tandara golf course, the background of the surrounding hills supporting Casuarina forest on the top).

Its location is very strategically placed, in the central of Bali. Its can therefore be easily reached by visitors from anywhere in Bali.

Hindus can pray to God in the two old temples inside the garden, Batu Meringgit and Teratai Bang Temple. Guests, especially researchers, can spend time in the Guest House, which is traditional Balinese in style, as is the Ethnobotany Museum, as long as they are working in the Garden.

The Garden looks forward to a good future as a centre for domestic and international visitors, especially those who wish to know more about the flora of eastern Indonesia. For that reason, the Garden is attempting to add to the plant collection from eastern Indonesia, and complete its facilities. It is also keen to promote active co-operation and joint ventures with other gardens or institutions.

I believe that in the future the Garden, like the island of Bali, will be well known all over the world. All of its 118 staff must be professional in their outlook and work hard. We hope that the Government of Indonesia will always give us the financial support we need to make our corporate strategies for conservation, research, education, landscape design and management a success.