Listen to and view wildlife on Mt Salak
Half the Vila Botani land area is dedicated to a collection of trees. Studies of tropical forests have typically found a great variety of species – as many as 200 species per hectare. This is a far cry from the forests that we usually observe when hiking, where a single species predominates because the forest was recently replanted by man, usually by the government. To observe a true variegated forest, we must walk for many hours from the nearest kampong to find ancient or “virgin” forests that have never been cut.

Most of the trees in the Vila Botani arboretum are indigenous to West Java, although a few originate from elsewhere in Indonesia or even, as in the case of the magnolia or cempaka, from outside Indonesia. Most of the local trees are from the sub-montane groups and includes the following families:
  • Euphorbiaceae, the spurge family of rubber trees
  • Lauraceae, or laurel family
  • Fagaceae, or tropical oaks
  • Moraceae, or mulberry/fig family
  • Myrtaceae, or myrtle family

A total of about 2000 trees are being planted, of which 1800 are now in place, representing over 240 different species, mostly local. As the trees get bigger, Vila Botani staff are also planting typical bushes underneath, so that the arboretum will resemble a tropical jungle when the trees reach full size. Since 2012, Vila Botani staff have been putting name tags on each tree. Rasamala and puspa are among the tallest trees being planted. Various tropical oaks have been gathered together in the “Kebun Pasang” toward the upper end of Vila Botani. A smaller group, also planted toward the upper end of Vila Botani, includes the dipterocarp family, most of which have a sap that can be tapped and sold as resin or gum. These trees are grouped in the “Kebun Dammar”, named after the sap -- which is also known as “dammar”. Another large group of trees, planted at the lower end of Vila Botani, is called the “Kebun Huru”, named for various species among the Lauraceae or laurel family.