Many Bolder Blocks in Singkil Swamp Are No Longer Accurate

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Singkil Swamp is an important part of the Leuser Ecosystem, and is well known for its value in conserving biodiversity. In particular it holds the highest densities of orangutans in the world, and supports viable populations of python, crocodiles, and large turtles. Tigers also inhabit the area during the dry season and prey on the numerous deer, and pigs that live there. The Singkil swamp is also important as a significant carbon store (contained in its peat) and its value to neighbouring marine fisheries is also important for the economic welfare of the local fishing communities. Being part of Leuser Ecosystem it is automatically part of the National Strategic Area which covers the Leuser Ecosystem in Aceh. The boundaries of the Singkil swamp were put in place in 2000 and were acknowledged in the Ministerial Decree No 190 2001.

Based on Ministerial Decree 190/2001, the Singkil Swamp covers an area of more than 100,000 ha. It is an important for its role as effective barrier against natural disaster such as Tsunamis, while continuously providing various ecosystem services that contribute directly to local livelihood such as acting as freshwater reservoir,and fish breeding ground.

Unfortunately, despite its ecological and economic importance, the Singkil Swamp still has to face perpetual threats from timber poaching, ever-expanding plantations, and road development. In order to safeguard the area and to avoid unnecessary conflicts it is important to have the area clearly demarcated in the field - and in fact this is something the neighbouring district governments call for regularly. For this reason BPKEL undertook an eight day survey to check on the condition of the boundary markers The field trip produced significant information; many of the boundary markers  are now located underwater due to receding coastline, while many others are in a  deteriorated condition (see photo).

Recognizing the the importance of making the boundaries as clear as possible BPKEL is now planning to reconstruct the boundaries around the Singkil Swamp - a challenge because of the waterlogged topography and because of the unstable coastline - but necessary to help protect this unique part of the Leuser Ecosystem.
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