Barito Ulu

Barito Ulu

Project Barito Ulu is a cooperative project established in 1989, between the University of Cambridge and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, working together with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences Research is carried out at the Muara Rekut base-camp in Central Kalimantan, situated at the headwaters of the Barito River in the geographical centre of Borneo (114,0E, 0,06S). It has been funded for the past ten years by the UK Home Improvement chain, Wickes.

The base-camp is situated at Muara Rekut where the Rekut and Busang rivers intersect. There is a wide diversity of forest types surrounding the camp, lowland evergreen forest, heath forest (kerangas) and intermediate forest types as well as shifting cultivation fallows of up to 60 years of age. Over fifty permanent plots (mostly 0.25 ha) have been set-up and there is an extensive trail system of 15 km within the main 400 hectare study site. Recent botanical research, mainly under the direction of John Proctor, has looked at plant-soil relationships, including a large-scale forest fertilisation experiment and explaining the occurrence of the locally common heath forest formation as well as examining forest succession following shifting cultivation. Zoological research is centred around understanding the ecology and systematics of the hybrid gibbons (Hylobates muelleri) found at the study site, but has also focussed on other large mammals as well, including birds, bats and fish. A phenological study, now in its thirteenth year, currently has over 200 trees monitored monthly.

Travelling to the camp takes two to four days from Jakarta. For the final three hours of the journey a speedboat must be chartered to negotiate the rapids in the upper parts of the river before arriving at the camp. It is sometimes possible to take the weekly Mission Aviation Fellowship plane to Muara Joloi, the nearest village to Rekut camp which is around one hour downstream.


* [ A project]

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