Meru Betiri

Meru Betiri National Park is national park in the province of East Java, Indonesia. Located at the geographic location 8o21- 8o34' South and 113o37' - 113o58' East. Extending over an area of 580 sq km of which a small part is marine (8.42 sq km). The beaches of the park provide nesting ground for the Endangered Leatherback turtles, Hawksbill turtles, Green turtles and Olive Ridley turtles.

Meru Betiri National Park takes its name from 'Gunung Betiri', the highest mountain in the region at 1,223 m. The main highlight of the park is its extensive lowland rainforest as well as lowland swamp forest and many beaches. The Javan tiger used to live in Meru Betiri National Park and the massive Rafflesia Flower can still be seen today.

Meru Betiri National Park has a varied topography reaching from a plain coast to highland with an altitude of almost 1,200 meters. The tallest mountains within the park are Mount Gamping (538 m asl), Mount Butak (609 m asl), Mount Sukamade Atas (801 m asl), Mount Gendong (840 m asl), Mount Mandilis (844 m asl) and Mount Betiri (1,192 m asl). 

The topography along the coast is generally hilly to mountainous. There are only few sandy plain coasts, most of them located in the west, such as Rajegwesi Beach, Sukamade Beach, Permisan Beach, Meru Beach and Bandealit Beach. Some rivers across Meru Betiri National Park are Sukamade River, a perennial river, Permisan River, Meru River and Sekar Pisang River that flow to the south coast.

The Meru Betiri area is influenced by monsoon wind. During November to March, the westerly wind brings rainfall to the area, whereas the dry season occurs during April to October. The average annual rainfall is between 2,300 and 4,000 mm, with 4 dry months and 7 wet months in average.

As a result of its diverse topography, Meru Betiri National Park contains five distinct vegetation types: 

  • Coastal vegetation, found around Sukamade Bay and Meru Bay. This vegetation includes the Barringtonia asiatica, Calophyllum inophyllum, Hibiscus tiliaceus, Terminalia catappa, and Pandania tectorius.
  • Mangrove vegetation, found at the eastern side of the Rajegwesi Bay as the outlet of Lembu and Karang Tambak Rivers, Meru Bay and Sukamade Coast. The dominan vegetation are Rhizophora, Avicennia and Bruguiera. At the outlet of the Sukamade River, there is Nypa fruticans.
  • Swam vegetation, found at the back of the mangrove forest of Sukamade. Some tree species here are Manilkara kauki, Gluta renghas, Alstonia scholaris, and Sterculia foetida. 
  • Lowland tropical rainforest, including among others tree species of Pterospermum, Tetrameles nudiflora, Ficus variegata, Diospyros cauliflora, Aglala variegata, Dracontomelon mangiferum, Bischoffia javanica, Dysoxylum amoroides, Gossampinus heptaphylla, Litsea, and Plectocomia elongata.
  • Rheofit, found in the wetland areas, such as the Sukamade area. The dominant vegetation species here is the Saccharum spontaneum.
Conservation efforts are primarily concentrated on the nearby turtle nesting beaches, particularly at Sukamade, where  the turtles are monitored and protected during egg laying. Green, Leatherback, Hawksbill, Olive Ridley and Loggerhead  turtles uses the same beaches   Visitors can also see turtles laying their eggs on beaches near Sukamade. Many people also take in Sukamade Beach when visiting Meru Betiri National Park, while Alas Purwo National Park is also worth a look. The park office organizes trek through the national park and there are several guesthouses in the area.

Declared by Minister of Forestry No. 277/Menhut-VI/1997, May 23, 1997.