Another diverse aspect of the Balinese landscape is its vast array of flora and fauna (see image 3). This tropical location has a diverse, fertile and exotic environment where plants and animals must endure extreme seasonal changes and high levels of rain.
Bali’s flora includes mangroves, rainforests and marsh areas. The landscape of Bali is filled with a large variety of palm trees, giant trees, ferns, mosses, lichens, bamboo, vines, creepers, carnivorous pitcher plants and dozens of types of orchids.
The Balinese flora is used for many different things. Palms, or nyuh, are particularly useful. The twelve varieties of palm found in the area are used in the braiding of walls, baskets and mats, whilst oil is used for cooking. Bamboo is also commonly used within village life, especially in the construction of homes. Orchids and other flowering plants are used as spiritual offerings and can often be found at temples or other sacred sites around the island.
Whilst other areas of Indonesia are home to some of the most exotic animals on the planet, elephants and tigers can no longer be seen in Bali. There are, however, many other animals. Wild buffalo, deer, pigs, miniature squirrels, macaques, leaf monkeys, birds and the animals that live in the surrounding coral reefs are just a few.
Bali is also home to the rare Bali starling (or Leucopsar rothschildi). The Bali starling is well known for its beauty. It has an azure (blue) band across its eyes, and blue sprigs in its tail. Due to its low numbers, the bird has now become the island’s focus for another reason. It is the subject of a rehabilitation and release program that the Bali Barat National Park is running in the hope to build numbers and decrease the risk of extinction.
The beaches and mangroves of Bali’s coastline provide the perfect nesting ground for many wading birds, predatory birds, as well as many other birds in the area. These areas are mostly sheltered and protected from the elements.
Like any environment, there are always threats to flora and fauna species. In the case of Indonesia, and therefore Bali, the major threats to the environment are logging, the construction of farms in wildlife habitats, population growth, hunting and tourism.