Geography of Indonesia

Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago region situated between Pacific and Indian Ocean.
Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago region situated between Pacific and Indian Ocean.

With over 17,000 islands, Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago region, and after Brazil, the second in its biodiversity. Only approximately one third of the islands are inhabited and the rest remain pristine, either too small for habitation, not sustainable or simply too remote. Indonesia is primarily sea with less than 20 percent of firm ground.

Indonesia spans an area of nearly 2 million square kilometres, with over 5000 kilometres at the equator in a region between Australia and Asia sitting between the Indian Ocean the Pacific Ocean. On land, it borders Papua New Guinea, Malaysia and East Timor.

As a tropical archipelago situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, the region is vulnerable to cyclones. One of the worst cyclones in Indonesia's history was Tropical Cyclone Inigo in 2003, with the worst storm damage on Flores Island, West Timor and Sumba.

Indonesia's topography comprises the regions of Sumatra, Java and Kalimuntan and all the outer islands sitting between them. These along with Papua and Salawesi are the most populated islands of Indonesia.

The landscapes within this archipelago are varied. The larger islands have picturesque mountain ranges and peaks rising from 3000 metres to 3800 metres above sea level in Java and Sumatra, Bali, Sulawesi, Lombok and Seram, valleys, lowlands and tropical coastal regions. These are largely volcanic islands, mostly inactive and ancient. This area is known as the Ring of Fire. Within the archipelago there are 400 volcanic mountains, with approximately one third sill active. The famous Krakatoa, also known as Krakatau, is a volcanic island in the Sunda Strait, sitting between Sumatra and Java. In 1883, the whole island exploded in a volcanic eruption. It killed 40,000 people, with reports that it was the loudest sound ever heard on earth, heard 3000 miles away and sending it's shock wave around the world.

The volcanic soil is rich for agriculture. It's carried down with the rivers and empties into the pastures and lowlands, especially in Java and Sumatra. In other places like Bali and Lombok land is cultivated on slopes as well as the valleys and flatland plains. Kalamantan has swampy forests and hills that aren't very fertile for growing crops. The east coast of Sumatra has floodplains, alluvial terraces for agriculture and morass marshland. The land area of the whole Indonesian archipelago includes rain forests and rich soils on lowlands for agriculture. Both tempered with the nutrients from the occasional volcanic eruption.