Bukit Tigapuluh National Park
Bukit Tigapuluh or "The Thirty Hills" lies just South of the equator in Eastern Sumatra. Approximately 130,000 hectares of lowland and hill tropical rainforest (some intra ecosystems exist inside like swamp and highland) of which the largest part is located in Riau province; a smaller part of 33,000 ha. is located in Jambi province. Bukit Tigapuluh is the most important area of remaining lowland forest on Sumatra These forests represent the biologically richest habitat type on earth, and one of the most threatened. Lowland forests are under severe threat from agricultural encroachment as well as plantation and timber enterprises all over Indonesia.
Bukit Tigapuluh has had the great advantage that the area has been relatively isolated, only inhabited by the local Malay, Talang, Mamak and Kubu tribes. Recently large-scale plantation and timber companies have moved into the Riau and Jambi provinces and threats to the park have intensified.
Bukit Tigapuluh forms part of the globally important Tesso Nilo Complex where some of the highest biodiversity figures on earth have been recorded.
In addition to providing a vital catchment protection for several large rivers the park is a safe haven for thousands of species of plants and animals, many of which are threatened by extinction or extremely rare. Known to exist are some of the rarest and endangered species.
660 plant species have been recorded (to date) including 246 used locally as medicinal plants and rafflesia hasseltii and rafflesia arnoldii flowers which can grow up to a massive 1metre wide and are only found in 2 places on the planet. As 83 western Malaysian or Sumatran endemic plants
- 192 species of birds were recorded, at least 10 of which are globally threatened.
- 98 species of fish
- 59 species of mammals 5 of which are globally threatened - including:
- Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus),
- Asian elephant (Elephus maximus),
- Gibbons (Hylobates agilis, H. syndactilus),
- Clouded leopard (neofelis nebulosa),
- Golden cat (catopuma temminckii).
- Spotted-winged fruit bat - Balionycteris maculata
- White-collared fruit bat - Megaerops wetmorei
- Long-tailed macaque - Macaca fascicularis
- Pig-tailed macaque - Macaca nemestrina
- Siamang - Hylobates syndactylus
- Banded leaf monkey - Presbytis femoralis
- Oriental small-clawed otter - Aonyx cinerea
- Malayan sun bear - Helarctos malayanus
- Spiny Turtle - Heosemys spinosa
- Malayan Flat-shelled Turtle - Notochelys platynota
- Estuarine Crocodile - Crocodylus porosus
- False Gavial - Tomistoma schlegelii
The forests and its surrounding buffer area also provide homes for Orang Rimba (Kubu) and Talan Mamak - forest dwelling tribal communities all of whom have adapted to living in the environment in a sustainable way that has little impact on the ecosystem.
ORANG RIMBA: Orang Rimba, the "People of the Forest" are an indigenous people, numbering 2,500, in Jambi Province. Approximately 364 live in the forests on Bukit Tigapuluh. The Orang Rimba have developed a traditional system of forest resources management, based on enrichment and selective enhancement of many tree and plant species. They generally collect non-wood forest products, hunt, and practice swidden cultivation. The fact that the Orang Rimba base their livelihood on the collection of forest products makes this forest of great importance to them.
TALANG MAMAK: Known as a hinterland tribe, the Talang Mamak number only about 6,000 and depend on the natural resources found in the park in Riau's Indragiri Hulu regency.
The Medicinal Biota Expedition found the Talang Mamak tribe use 110 and the Kubu tribe 101 of medicinal plants and fungi to cure over 50 diseases. Leaves are the most usable part of medical plants after roots, bark and sap. They have long known the plants and fungi as effective cures for common diseases such as rheumatism, dysentery, hepatitis, respiratory ailments, malaria, goiter, skin rashes, coughs and diabetes. Some plants are also considered natural contraceptives.
Usually the parts of the plant are boiled then the water drunk as a herbal extract.
Unfortunately, much of this area, which borders directly on the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, is now designated for conversion to plantation, and the remainder is being degraded at a rapid rate, not merely by licensed logging companies but also by numerous illegal loggers This all puts pressure on their traditional way of life. Resettlement of poor people from Java and other provinces in Sumatra is threatening the survival of the native communities. According to recent studies within four years, "newcomers" controlled 30% of the indigenous people's 3,275 hectares in Talang Lakat village. The transmigrants' activities are environmentally destructive; they exploit the forest and have taught the Talang Mamak to use chain saws to fell trees.
The park is under severe threat from agricultural encroachment as well as plantation and timber enterprises all over Indonesia. However, recently large-scale plantation and timber companies have moved into the Riau and Jambi provinces and now approximately two thirds of the park has been logged.
The main potential threat comes from clearing land around the park for establishing oil palm or Industrial timber plantation, and coal mining planning to north of the park The other threat arise from newly established transmigration area to the north and west of the park. Unfortunately, much of this area, which borders directly on the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, is now designated for conversion to plantation, and the remainder is being degraded at a rapid rate, not merely by licensed logging companies but also by numerous illegal loggers.
Illegal logging inside the park