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Vegetation Index of Sulawesi Peninsulas and Maluku Islands, Indonesia

April 4th, 2010 Category: Vegetation Index

Indonesia - March 5th, 2010

Indonesia - March 5th, 2010

This FAPAR image of part of Indonesia shows areas of the island of Sulawesi (also known as Celebes) to the left and some of the Maluku Islands to the right and center.

Sulawesi has four principal peninsulas, two of which can be seen here. Minahassa Peninsula, center left, stretches north from the central part of the island, before turning to the east and forming the northern boundary of the Gulf of Tomini.
The East Peninsula, lower left quadrant, stretches east from the central part of the island, forming the southern boundary of the Gulf of Tomini.

The central part of the island is ruggedly mountainous, such that the island’s peninsulas have traditionally been remote from each other, with better connections by sea than by road.

The lowland forests on the island are, unfortunately, almost gone. Because of the relative geological youth of the island and its dramatic and sharp topography, the lowland areas are naturally limited in their extent.

The island also possesses one of the largest outcrops of serpentine soil in the world, which support an unusual and large community of specialized plant species. Overall, however, the flora and fauna of this unique center of global biodiversity is very poorly documented and understood and remains critically threatened.

Moving east, the Maluku Islands (also known as the Moluccas, Moluccan Islands, the Spice Islands) are an archipelago in Indonesia, and part of the larger Maritime Southeast Asia region. Most of the islands are mountainous, some with active volcanoes, and enjoy a wet climate.

The vegetation of the small and narrow islands, encompassed by the sea, is very luxuriant; including rainforests, sago, rice and the famous spices – nutmeg, cloves and mace, among others.

Despite the aforementioned disappearance of the lowland forests on Sulawesi and the presence of luxurious rainforest on the Maluku Islands, Sulawesi shows a higher index of photosynthetic activity here, appearing more red than green.

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