Indonesia, the largest archipelago in
the world, stretches along the equator from 6°08' north to 11°15' south
latitude and from 94°45' to 141°05' east latitude, a distance of some 5,110
kilometers from east to west. In the other direction the distance is 1,888
kilometers. The emerald chain of island divides the Indian and Pacific Oceans at
the equator, and stretches between two continents, Asia and Australia.
No other country has as many islands, which number 17,508 and
vary in size and shape from flat to hilly and mountainous, around 6,000 being
inhabited by altogether more than 200 million people. There are five major
islands, 30 smaller ones, and thousand of islets. The country's more than 300
volcanoes include, Mount Kerinci the highest mountain in Sumatra, Mount Semeru
in Java, Mount Api on the island of Sangir and Jaya Vijaya in Irian Jaya.
Indonesia's tropical forests represent the most biologically
rich ecosystem in the world. Approximately 114 million Ha of closed tropical
forests remain in Indonesia. This fact, combined with its great expanse of
marine areas with extensive coral reefs, accounts for the country's rich
Among the more than 25.000 species of flowering plants that
grow in Indonesia there are such rare species as the giant Rafflesia of Sumatra,
which measures more than one meter across, and the Black Orchid of Kalimantan.
The fauna of the archipelago is as rich as the flora.