Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rainforest insects

Last November I and Monique (a volunteer from SDSP foundation) went hiking in the tropical rainforest of the Table Mountain near Manokwari city, the capital of West Papua province. We walked along the road that divides the jungle into two parts. Table Mountain with its forest is the closest natural environment that still exists in the city. The tropical rainforest that covers that mountain is rich of insects such as beetles, butterflies and wasps. Butterflies like to feed on nectars of rainforest flowers. During the morning walk with Monique, we could see various kinds of grasshoppers that like to eat young green leaves of plants and trees that grow in the forest. When the rainy season comes, trees and small vegetation grow faster. This creates competition between small plants and big trees. The presence of grasshopper can balance such competition by feeding on young leaves of the trees and plants that grow faster than others. In the food chain, insects such as the grasshopper are delicious food for lizards and soa-soa whereas these reptiles are prey to snakes and big birds.
When I write this post, I remember reading a book entitled the Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace. In a chapter about the Netherlands New Guinea, he said that this Table Mountain is rich of insects. Yes, I can confirm his report here that there are still a lot of species of insects in this tropical rainforest.
European researchers have visited the Table Mountain of Manokwari since two centuries ago. One of them was Prince Leopold and Princess Astrid from Belgium in 1929. Prince Leopold collected a lot of animals, including insects in Manokwari. His collections can still be seen in ISNB Brussels.
I write this post to promote ecotourism and attract tourists from around the world to visit this forest. If you are interested in watching beetles, butterflies, and various other insects in this tropical rainforest, you can contact me via my email: peace4wp@gmail.com. I will be happy to arrange your trip around Manokwari and guide you to see the beauty of Papua's nature. by Charles Roring
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