Jambi Bukit Dua Belas National Park Orang Rimba

Bukit Dua Belas National Park

Orang Rimba

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In Jambi, central Sumatra, there are many communities of the forest tribe that calls itself the Jungle People or Orang Rimba. These communities are scattered throughout the national parks in Jambi. One of the main territories of the Orang Rimba is the Bukit Duabelas National Park which is 60,500 hectares and spans three regencies: Batang Hari (65 percent); Tebo (20 percent); and Sarolangun (15 percent). The Orang Rimba have lived in these forests for as long as they can remember, with each community having a leader called the Tumenggung.
The Orang Rimba population in this area recorded by a survey in 1998 is 1046 individuals.
The Orang Rimba fulfil their daily needs by hunting inside the forests using traditional weapons like bow and arrows, spears, etc. Besides hunting, they also collect resin, red dye from the fruits of rattan trees, and the rattan itself, to sell to the villagers whom they call “people of the light” for money which they would then use to buy goods for their families. Agricultural fields (huma) have become an alternative source of income for some Orang Rimba, with some families planting rubber trees, vegetables, etc. on a small scale as an addition to their forest based livelihood. When exploiting the forests they choose which trees are mature to prevent any possibility of forest degradation. The Orang Rimba have strong cultural values which they want to protect and preserve.
The effects of modernization have intimidated local wisdom and human rights systems of the Orang Rimba. Interventions by the many parties have treated the Orang Rimba as objects, not as subjects with the right to be involved in the management of Bukit Duabelas National Park. Outsiders often assume that the Orang Rimba are a threat to the National Park, and they have become scapegoats for intellectuals seeking to explain degradation of the National Park. The increasing intervention of outside parties has caused an increase in social conflicts such as: human rights violations; eradication of cultural values; segregation of Orang Rimba communities and the violation of their right to use and manage their customary lands within the National Park. The Orang Rimba have been exploited by foreign donors, while they receive no educational support from the government.


Indigenous tribes

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.

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