Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve in Aceh is one of Indonesia’s peat swamp forests, located in South Aceh district. This peat swamp forest is a combination of tropical rainforests and peat forests. This forest area located on the west coast of Aceh.
Peat swamp forests are of great importance because of their role as natural reservoirs that absorb to store excess water from surrounding areas and reduce the risk of flooding. Having a natural wealth that is so unique and important for living creatures, there are various types of ecosystems in one region. This forest is also the habitat of endangered rare animals, such as the Sumatran orangutan, Sumatran tiger, Sumatran elephant, Sumatran rhino and others.
This forest also has a wealth of flora that has high economic value, among them is the type of wood such as Meranti, Gaharu, Damar, Kapur, and Kerwing. Therefore, this forest is designated as a Natural Conservation Area based on Decree of the Minister of Forestry no. 166 / Kpts-II / 1998.
The contents of the decision that there is a change of function and appointment of Singkil Swamp Forest area located in Aceh Province, South Aceh Regency, with an area of 102,500 hectares into Nature Reserve area with the name of Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve.
For most of the local people of South Aceh, Subulussalam and Aceh Singkil depend on this singkil swamp forest. They only take advantage of sustainable natural resources.
However, by 2015, the Minister of Environment and Forestry issues Decree No. 103 / MenLHK-II / 2015 which sets out to reduce the area of Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve to 81,338 hectares. The reduction of forest area reaches 20 thousand hectares.
Now the condition of Rawa Singkil Wildlife Sanctuary is slowly experiencing destruction. The existence of hunting of rare animals resulted in the existence of rare animals are extinct and destroy the existing ecosystems in the area of the forest.
Not to mention the rampant opening of large-scale land begins with a deliberate combustion of forests, and open the land using heavy equipment whose purpose is to make the area into agricultural land or oil palm and rubber plantations.
About 80 hectares of forest in this area has been cleared for oil palm plantations, precisely in Ie Meudama Village, South Aceh District. This is done by land mafias who want to make these conservation forests as plantations. Local people are unlikely to destroy the forests where they depend for their lives by opening palm gardens, let alone using heavy equipment. Only the greedy mafia can do it.
If this destruction continues to happen then the biggest disaster will be the local people living in the swamp forest and will become a new burden for the government. To prevent this from happening, the government together with the Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) Aceh and his team conducted routine patrols.
In addition, several joint operations were carried out by the police with the Security and Law Enforcement Hall of the Environment and Sumatran Forestry. Prevention is also done by socializing and educating the surrounding community so as not to misuse the existing natural resources.
The government and the surrounding communities pledged and sought to safeguard the singkil swamp forest area so that the biodiversity of the region remains sustainable. This forest is a reliable potential in eco-tourism. The charm of nature and the uniqueness of singkil swamp forest is an attraction of interest to tourists and researchers to recognize the diversity of flora and fauna that exist. Therefore, the existence of Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve of Aceh is in need to be protected and preserved.