British naturalist A.R Wallace (1823-1913) postulated an imaginary line (named after him, Wallace’s line) as the dividing line between Asiatic and Australian fauna. It passes between Bali and Lombok islands, and between Kalimantan and Sulawesi then continues south of the Philippines and north of Hawaii. This theory explains the presence of species of fauna familiar to both Asia and Australia in Indonesia. However, there are species indigenous to Indonesia, like the ‘orangutan’ apes of Sumatera and Kalimantan, the giant ‘komodo’ lizards, the one-horned rinocheros of Java, the wild ‘banteng’ oxen, tigers and many other species which are now protected in wildlife reserves.
The flora of Indonesia ranges from the tiny orchids to the giant ‘rafflesia’ plant which has a bloom of almost one meter (3.2 feet) in diameter, the largest flower in the world. Agricultural flora include rubber, coconut, coffee, tea, cocoa, corn, spices, cotton, tobacco, rice and abundant of vegetable and fruits. Indonesia has some of the richest timber resources in the world and the largest concentration of tropical hardwoods. The total area of state controlled forests is approximately 12.9 million hectares. ‘Meranti’ hardwood constitutes about 56 % of the entire timber export. Other varieties include ramin, agathis, teak, pinewood, rattan and bamboo.