Danau Sentarum

Danau Sentarum (Lake Sentarum) National Park is a national park protecting one of the world's most biodiverse lake system, located in the heart of Borneo Island, Kapuas Hulu Regency, West Kalimantan Province, Indonesia. It lies in the upper Kapuas River tectonic basin some 700 kilometres upstream from the delta. The basin is a vast floodplain, consisting of about 20 seasonal lakes, freshwater swamp forest, and peat swamp forest. Local people call it as Lebak Lebung (floodplain). The national park is located in the western part of this basin, where three-quarters of the seasonal lakes occur. Approximately half of the park consist of lakes, while the other half consis of freshwater swamp forest.

The geographical position of the Danau Sentarum National park is between 111o56' - 112o25' Eastern longitude and 0o39' - 01o00' of Northern latitude, temperature 26o - 30o C, rainfall average 1.200 - 1.500 mm/year, altitude 37 - 40 m above sea level. Danau Sentarum National Park covers an area of 132.000 hectares.  The topography mainly flat, partially concave shaped, with some isolated hills. It is surounded by hill and mountain ranges in the west, north-east, and east. With its topography and location the area of Danau Sentarum plays also an important role as a water buffer of the Kapuas watershed system. The area mitigates floods during rainy season and buffers water during the dry season.

During rainy season between October to May, the water levels of the lakes and streams in the park area increase dramatically and may rise up to 12 meters. As a consequence the lake system may become a single water mass in the rainy season. About 9 months in a year the area is flooded with an average depth of 6,5 meters.

However, the depth can vary significantly and may increase up to 14 meters. During the dry season, typically between June and September, water levels fall and many lakes may dry out entirely, while only the deepest water channels remain. But this can vary from year to year as well. During the  dry season in 2010 for example the lakes remained "full", due to heavy rainfall, which occured almost every day. As a consequence serious flooding occurred even in the upper regions of the Kapuas River, e.g. in Putussibau.

Danau Sentarum National Park has 237 bird species recorded including the Storm's Stork and Great Argus. Of the 143 mammal species, 23 are endemic to Borneo including the Proboscis Monkey. There is a relatively large population of the endangered Orangutan present in the park. The 26 reptile species include the False Gavial and Estuarine Crocodile.

Like other areas of West Kalimantan, this park has some peculiar and endemic species of plant, including Tengkawang (Shorea beccariana), lowland forest plants like Jelutung (Dyera costulata), Ramin (Gonystylus bancanus), Meranti (Shorea spp.),  Keruing (Dipterocarpus spp.), and Kayu Ulin (Eusideroxylon zwageri) can also be found.

Danau Sentarum National Park has a variety of fish species is estimated that there are about 120 species. Among them are the Asian Bonytongue (Scleropages formosus), Belida (Notopterus chitala), Toman (Channa micropeltes), Betutu (Oxyeleotris marmorata), Jelawat (Leptobarbus hoeveny), Ketutung (Balantiocheilos melanopterus), and the beautiful Clown loach (Botia macradanthus).

Other animal like Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus), Orangutan (Pongo satyrus), Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), False Gavial (Tomistoma schlegelii), Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis), Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), Great Argus (Argusianus argus grayi), and Wooly-necked stork (Ciconia episcopus stormi) also inhabit in the park.

Danau Sentarum National Park has been declared an International Wetland Site under the Ramsar Convention in 1992.

The local people around Danau Sentarum National Park belong to Dayak tribes like the Iban, Sebaruk, Sontas, Punan and they still live in very traditional way. The characteristic longhouses (betang) vary in size according to the number of people occupying them. This could be between five and 30 families. A typical longhouse occupied by fifteen to thirthy families would have an average length of 186 metres and a width of 6 metres. The local way of life is fascinating tor tourist, the atmosphere of the 'betang' is harmonious, simple, and friendly, and visitors will usually be treated to a traditional Dayak dance.

Fisherman coummunity in Danau Sentarum National Park doesn't depent only on fishing activities, but they also grow fish in a 'keramba' (a basket put in the stream) in their village. Fish species grown in 'keramba' are Channa micropeltes, Leptobarbus hoevenii, Oxyleotris marmorata, Pangasius nasutus, C. micropeltes and O. marmorata are carnivores consuming small fish. They are kept in the 'keramba' for at least one year. To grow fish in 'keramba' has been intensively carried out and large number of small fishes has been capture to feed the fish. This activity may affect fish population in the park.

Declared by Minister of Forestry No. 34/Kpts-II/1999. February 4, 1999.