Sumatran montane rain forests

Sumatran montane rain forests
Mount Kemiri (8247563957).jpg
Ecoregion territory (in purple)
Ecoregion territory (in purple)
BiomeTropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests
Area72,779 km2 (28,100 sq mi)
Coordinates2°45′N 98°45′E / 2.75°N 98.75°E / 2.75; 98.75Coordinates: 2°45′N 98°45′E / 2.75°N 98.75°E / 2.75; 98.75
Conservation statusRelatively stable/intact

The Sumatran montane rain forests ecoregion (WWF ID: IM0159) covers the mountainous elevations (greater than 1,000 meters) of the Barisan Mountains Range that runs the length of the southwestern side of the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. The ecoregion is almost completely surrounded by the lower elevation Sumatran lowland rain forests. The area is one of very high biodiversity - because of the relative isolation, and variety of forest types, there are 7 endemic species of mammals and eight endemic species of birds.[1][2][3][4]

Location and description

The Barisan Mountains stretch for 1,600 km along the southwest side of Sumatra, the product of the subducting Australia Plate and the overriding Sunda Plate. The range averages less than 70 km wide, and rises from 44 meters to a maximum elevation of 3,595 metres (11,795 ft), with a mean elevation of 1,160 metres (3,810 ft). There are 35 active volcanoes in the region, with the western side steeper, and the eastern slide inclining to lowlands and plains.[1]


The climate of the ecoregion is Tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification (Af)). This climate is characterized as hot, humid, and having at least 60 mm of precipitation every month.[5][6] Annual precipitation in the mountains averages 2,500 mm. The eastern side of the Barisan Mountains are in a rain shadow, and receive less precipitation than the west side.[4]

Flora and fauna

75% of the ecoregion is covered with closed, broadleaf evergreen forest, another 15% in other types of closed forest, and 7% open forest. [3] There are three main forest types in the ecoregion, based on elevation: the 'lower montane forest', 'upper montane forest', and 'sub-alpine forest'.

The lower montane forest has tree species similar to the lowland rain forests, but they are shorter (up to 35 meters), buttresses are rare, llianas (woody vines) are rare, epiphytes become more common, and the lowland domination of trees of the family Dipterocarpaceae gives way to more trees of the oak family Fagaceae, such as Stone oaks (Lithocarpus), and of the laurel family Lauraceae, such as Cinnamomum burmansea.

The upper montane forest forms at higher elevations, depending on temperature and cloud level. The trees in this zone are shorter (up to 20 meters, and epiphytes, such as moss and lichens, are more common. The sub-alpine forest zone begins at higher elevations, and features grasses, heath, and bogs. Tees in the sub-alpine zone are scattered and stunted, typically under 10 meters in height.

Mammals of conservation interest include the vulnerable Thomas's langur (Presbytis thomasi), the vulnerable Sumatran striped rabbit (Nesolagus netscheri), and the Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris).

Protected areas

Over 31% of the ecoregion is officially protected. The protected areas include:


  1. ^ a b "Sumatran montane rain forests". World Wildlife Federation. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  2. ^ "Map of Ecoregions 2017". Resolve, using WWF data. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Sumatran montane rain forests". Digital Observatory for Protected Areas. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Sumatran montane rain forests". The Encyclopedia of Earth. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  5. ^ Kottek, M., J. Grieser, C. Beck, B. Rudolf, and F. Rubel, 2006. "World Map of Koppen-Geiger Climate Classification Updated" (PDF). Gebrüder Borntraeger 2006. Retrieved September 14, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "Dataset - Koppen climate classifications". World Bank. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
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