The ecosystem in geothermal area is very interesting to be learned. Geothermal area not only has a great energy potential, but also acts as an intact ecosystem that has high biodiversity. The studies that were conducted in the geothermal area usually are still focused on exploiting its energy potential, so that information related to a unique geothermal ecosystem is rarely known. Through this program, we are trying to identify the existing biodiversity so that there will be more and more people concerned about the conservation of biodiversity in the geothermal area.
Some geothermal manifestations that were explored were Linow Lake, Lahendong Pine Forest and hot springs on the banks of the Rano Raindang River. Those three locations were selected because they are surrounded by forest that indicates that there are multiple types of flora and fauna. Until now, there are 29 species of plants and 27 species of birds that have been identified.
Lahendong Pine Forest, whose name is taken from the name of a village, known by the local community as Pinus Lahendong because there are many pine trees (pinus in Indonesian) that grow there. In Lahendong Pine Forest (Pinus Lahendong), there are many geothermal manifestations such as mud pools, mud volcanoes and altered rocks. In this location, strong sulfur aroma can be smelled, beside that sound of mud burst in tandem with birdsong can also vaguely be heard. Based on observations, the plants around geothermal manifestation form a unique zoning. The diversity of the plant species increased with increasing distance from geothermal manifestations.
It seems that not many plants can live in the area near geothermal manifestations, but there are some unique species that can live and survive in the geothermal mud deposit that had dried up. Those are plant species that have a high tolerance to extreme conditions around geothermal manifestation. One of those species is Blue Tongue (Senggani in Indonesian) (Melastoma affine) that can be found mostly in mountainous area in Java.
From left to right: Earleaf acasia (Acacia auriculiformis), Blue tongue (Melastoma affine), Wedelia (Wedelia so.), Impatiens (Impatiens sp.)
In addition to the diversity of plant species, geothermal area is also inhabited by a variety of animal species. Big animals consist of the group of mammals, aves and herpetofauna. Mammals are a group of animals who have hair, three middle ear bones and mammary glands, while aves is a group of birds and herpetofauna are amphibians and reptiles such as toads, frogs, and other types of lizards.
In the area of Lake Linow, Lahendong Pine Forest and hot springs on the banks of the Rano Raindang River, animals that can be found are dominated by species of the group of aves. Mammals and herpetofauna have never been encountered during the observation. Frogs actually only have been encountered in a residential area, not around the geothermal manifestasions.
Group of herpetofauna is not able to live in an area with a high salt content. Both the saline and geothermal manifestation areas have a low pH (acidic). There is a possibility that the group of herpetofauna can not adapt to the area around the geothermal manifestations due to their high salinity and some of them are acidic.
There are many species of birds that can be found around the geothermal manifestations. Birds tend to use habitat in the upper branches or tree canopy that is high and not directly affected by the condition of the soil and water, beside that the trees in surroinding areas are also able to provide enough food supply. Their vast cruising range also allows them to forage outside the area of geothermal manifestations that can increase the odds of their life.
From left to right: Olive-backed sunbird (Nectarinia jugularis), Intermediate egret (Egretta intermedia), Oriental darter (Anhinga melanogaster), Yellow-sided flowerpecker (Dicaeum aureolimbatum)