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World's Biggest Moss Garden Opens

12 April 2006

From ANTARA News

 Sphagnum capsule copyright Alan Heilman

 Sphagnum capsules. Mosses perform many
valuable ecosystem services
Image © Alan S. Heilman

The Cibodas bryophyte park, part of the Cibodas Botanical Garden (KRC) in Pacet subdistrict, Cianjur regency, West Java, and believed to be the only outdoor moss park in the world, was dedicated by Mrs Umar Anggara Jenie, wife of the Head of the Indonesian Council of Sciences (LIPI) this week.

The 1,500-m2 bryophyte park, which will be expanded to 2,500 m2, located between Mt Gede and Mt Pangrango, is the biggest in the world.

"With its biggest outdoor moss park in the world, Indonesia will be known as a country which is serious in plant conservation," said the Head of the KRC Vegetation Conservation Institute Holif Immamudin .

Germany and Singapore also have moss parks but they are indoors, and contain only seven species, while one in Japan has only 10 species.

Immamudin added that Indonesia is rich in biodiversity, as all the 3,000 different moss species in the world are also found in Indonesia, and 250 of them are found in the Cibodas Botanical Garden.

But unfortunately, he said, the condition of one of Indonesia`s biodiversity lacked attention of the appropriate authorities, despite the fact that moss has an important role to play in the life of human beings.

Some of the benefits of bryophytes are that moss maintains humidity of the air and land porosity, and is helps to retain water.

A moss of the Spaghnum taxon is known to replace cotton, and could heal skin and eye diseases, and serve as a means for the growth of orchids. Marchantia mosses are used to treat hepatitis.

But all these mosses meed to be clinically tested before developing them for use as medical drugs.

The moss park is designed on the basis of a cultivated landscape.

Its strategic location makes it very easy for visitors to see it, because the moss park is only 600 meters away from the KRC entrance, and can also be reached through the Rhododendron Park and an asphalted road to Curug in Cibogo.

In the meantime, Bian Tan, program coordinator for BGCI Southeast Asia told the press that the moss collection in Indonesia is the most complete in the world.

Besides, he added, as it is located in a tropical region surrounded by mountains, the air around it remains humid, unlike those in other countries like Germany, Singapore and Japan, which are forced to locate their moss gardens indoors.

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