Community Forest Enterprises (CFE) of Bukik Ijau presume that illegal loggers were the perpetrators behind the burning of their hut which established a year ago to safeguard the protected forest of Bukit Betabuh through agroforestry. The CFE has doing the agroforestry activity since the last two years.
Bukit Betabuh is acknowledged as channeling corridor between Bukit Rimbang Bukit Baling Wildlife forest reserve and Bukit Tigapuluh National Park. As the corridor, the forest become a habitat and trails for some key species including Sumatran Tiger, Pangolin, Rusa Sambar (Cervus unicolor), Kijang (Muntiacus montanus), Kuau Raja (Argusianus argus), Beruang Madu (Helarctos malayanus), Harimau Dahan (Neofelis nebulosi and Kucing Hutan (Felidae family).
There are also potential of high value timber, fruits and rattan in the forest, such as: Jernang (Daemonorops Draco) and Manau (Calamus manan). And various of fungus including cendawan susu harimau (Lignosus rhinocerus) which is used as medicinal ingredients.
“Today we will fight and rise, we will file reports to the authority. After the perpetrators is caught, then we will grief for one day”, said the leader of the CFE, Hendri Yanto (38), through telephone conversation on Sunday (4/11). The hut was used as a resting post during activities in the forest within 7 km of the Air Buluh settlement.
“The hut was built by the farmers with their perspiration and hard work. We support them to establish the hut as a symbol that the country is present in improving forest protection through agroforestry to gain better livelihood. By routinely caring for the Jernang, also help the government to protect the forest from illegal loggers and encroachers”, explained Haris, staf of Forest Management Unit (KPH) Singingi when confirmed, Sunday (4/11).
Since 2016, Hutanriau foundation has empower CFEs in Air Buluh. Air Buluh is a village whose part of the Bukit Betabuh Area. Most of the villagers still using the river as the main source of fresh water. This village located at the boundaries of Riau – West Sumatra Province. Since then, CFEs in the village has begun to maintain the HLBB and 75% of the people have switched professions from illegal loggers to forest guards. Until now, these groups have managed to maintain 900 hectares of the forest area from illegal loggers and encroachers.
“We hope that law enforcement will follow up complete investigation regarding this action. We suspect that this is not a problem of one or two actors. But there is a big interest behind it. Because it was impossible for the sticky actor to burn down the hut along with the nation flag that fluttered in the protected forest area“, explained Melki Rumania, Program Director of the Hutanriau Foundation, Sunday (4/11).
The forest threat mainly from West Sumatra, because the forest was directly adjacent to palm oil plantations in the province. Therefore, KPH Singingi continues to build collaboration with the community to maintain the HLBB. (WA)