Gallery: Atauro Island
Atauro is a rugged island of about 100 square kilometres, 20 km to the north of Dili on the main island of Timor. Atauro is an extinct volcano and there are areas of limestone that are uplifted former coral reefs.
Gallery: Nino Konis Santana National Park
The eastern tip of Timor supports the largest tract of forest on the island. It, along with an extensive marine reserve with fine coral reefs, Lake Iralalaro and associated wetlands and grasslands, and several villages and their croplands, form the Nino Konis Santana National Park. This is a limestone landscape. The forest is mostly semi-deciduous, but evergreen on the inaccessible Paitchou Range.
0141 Bobonara landscape.jpg
Mountains near the border with Indonesian West Timor.
0124 tropical dry forest canopy.jpg
Taken near Maubara on the north coast. Though early in the dry season, many trees were shedding leaves, yielding a delightful canopy scene.
0122 view from nunnery to Alor.jpg
From the north coast of Timor, the volcanic Indonesian island of Alor seems not far away. But between the two lies a ocean trench almost 3 km deep.
0298 Hato Builico.jpg
Hato Builico (there are various spellings) is a village at the base of the tallest mountain in Timor - Mt Ramelau.
0294 ruins Hato Builico.jpg
Seemingly every village and town has burnt-out ruins, testament to the terrible strife of 1999 following the vote for independence from Indonesia.
0218 Hato Builico lad.jpg
It gets cold in Hato Builico! Timor is fairly close to the equator, but Hato Builico is 1,900 m above sea level.
0234 vegetation from Mt Ramelau summit with Eucalyptus orophila.jpg
At over 2,900 m, Mt Ramelau is the tallest mountain on Timor. Eucalyptus orophila is a little-known tree that only occurs on this mountain. On sheltered sites, it can grow to 15 or 20 m (next photo), but here it is stunted and shrub-like on a windswept upper slope.
0270 Eucalyptus orophila woodland Mt Ramelau.jpg
0203 Maubisse cemetry.jpg
Recent graves are likely another testament to the years of Indonesian occupation. It is estimated that 180,000 people died in what is probably the worst per capita genocide of the 20th century.
0311 unknown bamboo.jpg
I found this bamboo growing, apparently wild, is a small remnant of native forest beside the main highway that crosses the mountain from Dili southwards. Bamboo ecology is a particular interest of mine. Unable to identify it, I sent the photo to a colleague with expertise in Asian bamboos, and was advised that it may well be a species new to science.