Krakatau: life returns
Krakatau: terugkeer van het leven

                                     Krakatau horizon


Enter the history of the early biological Krakatau research (ENG)

Start voor de geschiedenis van het biologisch Krakatau onderzoek (NL)

by Peter J. van Dijk

On August 27th 1883 a devastating volcanic eruption destroyed all plant and animal life on the tropical island of Krakatau (Now Indonesia, then Dutch East Indies). In those days, means for research were very limited, biology was still in the phase of describing and naming plant species and ecology did not yet exist as a separate scientific disciplin. How easily could this magnificent experiment of nature have been lost for science. However, Melchior Treub, the director of the Botanic Gardens in Buitenzorg (Now Bogor), understood the importance of the clean state that had been created by the eruption and initiated a series of surveys to monitor the return life to Krakatau through time. In the years that followed many scientists participated in these successive surveys. Thanks to the dedication of these biologists Krakatau is now the best documented case of primary succession in the tropics.  This website is dedicated to the now largely forgotten scientist to whom we owe this shrine of biogeography. Krakatau on Google Maps