Mount Rinjani Recognizes By UNESCO As Global Geopark
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ( UNESCO ) has officially recognized Mount Rinjani in Lombok as A Global Geopark.
Mount Rinjani is one of the main tourist attractions in Lombok attract tens of thousands of visitors to the island every year.
At 3726 meters above sea level making Rinjani as the second highest volcano in Indonesia. The breathtaking Segara Anak Lake, which fills the crater of the now active volcano, is about 6-kilo meters across at its widest point and is located about 2000 meters above sea level.
Rising from the waters of this lake is a new volcano, mount Baru Jari, which is occasionally active and allows visitors spectacular views of smoking volcano floating on the edge of the lake.
Mt Rinjani lies within the Mount Rinjani National Park, which was established in 1997 and is one of over 40 throughout Indonesia.
The Park covers 41,330 hectares and sits inside a major bio-geographical transition zone (Wallacea). This zone, known as the “Wallace Line”, marks the transition point where the tropical flora and fauna of South East Asia meets that of Australasia.
The UNESCO Executive Board endorsed Rinjani as a UNESCO Global Geopark on 17 April 2018. The official certificate will be awarded in September this year in Italy during the Eighth International Conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks.
In granting Rinjani Geopark status, UNESCO recognizes that Rinjani is a site with global significance.
The area has world-wide historical significance and is the site of the Samalas volcano – believed to have erupted in 1257 with a catastrophic impact on the entire planet.
Scientists believe the eruption was so large it blasted out 100 million tonnes of material per second and blocked the sun for months, possibly years.
The vast volcanic cloud enveloped the entire world, reaching as far away as North America and Europe, and caused dramatic climate changes globally. Researchers believe that thousands of people died as a result of crop failure and diseases.
The peak of mighty Samalas collapsed into itself under the weight of the eruption, forming a large crater that eventually filled with water, creating Segara Anak Lake.
In their findings, the UNESCO team stated that “Rinjani has a rich and diverse landscape, forest types ranging from Savannah and semi-deciduous forests to lower montane evergreen forests and tropical montane evergreen forests.
Quaternary calc-alkaline volcanoes, Oligo-Miocene volcanic rocks, and Neogene intrusive igneous rocks dominate the island’s geology. The volcanic complex developed due to the seduction of the Indian Ocean Plate under the South East Asia Plate.
The Quaternary volcanoes can be further categorized into an old and young complex. The old volcano complex consists of Mt Punikan and Mt Nangi in the west and Mt Sembalun in the east.
With a height of 3,726 m asl, Mt Rinjani presently holds the highest peak in the volcanic complex.
The caldera of the Samalas Volcano, filled with a combination of meteoric and hydrothermal water, has formed a lake named Segara Anak. In the middle of the caldera emerges a young volcanic cone, Mt Rombongan, and Mt Barujari.
The youngest volcanic complex, Mt Rinjani, was formed approximately 12,000 to 6,000 years ago.
Two volcanic cones existed prior to the eruption of the Samalas (or Old Rinjani) volcano in the 13th century – the Samalas Volcano and Mount Rinjani.
The eruption of Samalas in 1257 resulted in the formation of a huge caldera and pyroclastic flow in Kokoq Putih and caused the collapse of part of Old Rinjani. This eruption changed the entire landscape, buried the old civilization and created a stage for the beginning of a new cultural era.”
Rinjani has been nominated as a Global Geopark several times over the past decade, most recently in 2016. However, the government and park management failed to meet stringent UNESCO requirements in those nominations.
The UNESCO Global Geopark Network was established in 1998 to promote sites demonstrating the diversity of the planet’s geology.
Worldwide, there are 127 Unesco Global Geoparks in 35 countries.
There are four fundamental features to a UNESCO Global Geopark. These features are an absolute prerequisite for an area to become a UNESCO Global Geopark:
1. Geological heritage of international value
In order to become a UNESCO Global Geopark, the area must have a geological heritage of international value. This is assessed by scientific professionals, as part of the “UNESCO Global Geopark Evaluation Team”.
UNESCO Global Geoparks are managed by a body having legal existence recognized under national legislation. UNESCO Global Geoparks require a management plan, agreed upon by all the partners, that provides for the social and economic needs of the local populations, protects the landscape in which they live and conserves their cultural identity.
This plan must be comprehensive, incorporating the governance, development, communication, protection, infrastructure, finances, and partnerships of the UNESCO Global Geopark.
UNESCO Global Geoparks promote sustainable local economic development mainly through Geotourism. Visitors, as well as local people, need to be able to find relevant information on the UNESCO Global Geopark via a dedicated website, leaflets, and detailed map of the area that connects the area’s geological and other sites.
A UNESCO Global Geopark is also about cooperating with other Global Geoparks through the Global Geoparks Network (GGN), and regional networks, in order to learn from each other and, as a network, improve the quality of the label UNESCO Global Geopark.
Membership of the GGN is obligatory for UNESCO Global Geoparks and working together with international partners is the main reason to be a member.
As mentioned earlier, Mt Rinjani has been rejected as a Geopark in the past, mainly because a management plan was not in place.
Mt Rinjani has been plagued by problems for years, mostly due to a lack of management. Rubbish and waste management on the mountain is a major concern. With almost one hundred thousand people climbing the mountain last year and no waste management systems in place, rubbish piles up daily with the tracks covered in litter.
Until this year, there were no public toilet facilities and human waste and toilet paper was a disgusting problem not only on the mountain but also around the camping area near the lake.
The acceptance of Rinjani into the Geopark network implies that the management board has a clear management plan going into the future.
“After securing status as a Global Geopark, the management of Rinjani will focus on three main pillars to develop Rinjani – namely conservation, education, and people’s economic empowerment,” Misbahib Haraha, Rinjani Geopark Council’s Chairman, told reporters.
“The geopark’s management will encourage more participation by locals so that the benefits from tourism can be enjoyed by both investors and the people,” he said. —-> article taking from Lombok Guide Monthly Papers.