Covering 1.36 million Hectare, Kayan Mentarang National Park is the largest conservation area in Kalimantan, and among the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia. The conservation status as a national park, to replace the previous status of a nature reserve, for Kayan Mentarang was formally announced by the Ministry of Forestry in 1996 -through Forestry Minister Decree No. 631/KPTS-II/1996 dated on 7 October 1996, in accordance to Act no. 5 of 1990 concerning Life Natural Resources Conservation and its Ecosystem.
The park straddles the far interior of East Kalimantan, bordering Sarawak (Malaysia) to the west and Sabah (Malaysia) to the north. Over 60 percen of the park area lies within the District of Malinau while the rest is part of the Distirct of Nunukan, East Kalimantan Province. This area has been inhabitated by approximately 27,000 Dayak people who belong to 11 customary land areas. Each customary land area is lead by a customary chief administrating several customary land areas and or villages. These indigenous groups have highly depended on the forests of Kayan Mentarang and its natural resources for hundreds of years.
Various vegetations can be found – lowland forests, highland forests, savanna – in a complex habitat. At least 150 mammals are found in this area, along with more than 300 bird species and various reptiles, amphibians and insects. The upper-course of the rivers in East Kalimantan, Indonesia and Sarawak and Sabah in Malaysia are located in the area of Kayan Mentarang NP. Thus, KMNP plays a significant ecological role for both countries. That condition determines
KMNP as the Heart of Borneo.
The goal of KMNP’s Establishment
The primary objective why Kayan Mentarang was declared as a national park is to protect biodiversities and its ecosystem so that the area will be able to support the communities livelihood as well as enhance the quality of human-life. To reach those goals, an accurate information and valid scientific data regarding biodiversities potential including genetics level, species, population, ecosystem, and landscape level are required. Moreover, data and information regarding social, economic, and socio-cultural condition and analysis of opportunities and threats to future development are also needed to attain those objectives.