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Besides playing an important role in saving ecosystems, peatlands can also be utilized as a tourist attraction. The development of peat tourism is expected to improve the welfare of the local community and make people and tourists become more aware of peatlands so that peatlands are maintained and remain sustainable.
Besides playing an important role in preventing climate change and natural disasters, peatlands also have the potential to improve the community's economy by utilizing peatlands as a tourist attraction.
One of the peatlands that has become a tourist attraction is the Sebangau National Park in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan. This 568,700-hectare peatland was designated as a national park on 19 October 2004 through Decree No. SK 423/Menhut-II/2004.
In the national park, visitors can enjoy the vast peatland and river with a depth of 1-17 meters which is called the Koran River. Visitors can explore the area using kelotok or motorized boats from Kereng Bangkirai Village into the peat forest.
Flanked by the Sabangau and Katingan rivers, this park is a habitat for 25 species of mammals, 116 species of Borneo birds, 36 species of fish, and 166 species of flora. Apart from orangutans, visitors will also find other animals such as crocodiles, snakes, and long-tailed monkeys.
Quoted from Mongabay,
the Head of Sebangau National Park Office said that ecotourism activities on the peatland are managed by local communities with support from the Government of Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan, and the Sebangau National Park Office. This is done to help the community earn income from ecotourism.
The success of the local government and community in managing Sebangau National Park has attracted various parties, including the team from Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA), to visit and learn about peat forest management.
Besides Sebangau National Park, peatland in Baru Village, Marosebo, Muaro Jambi is also successfully developed as an ecological park. The Muaro Dano residents have succeeded in converting the peatland into Lubuk Penyengat tourist attraction. They offer the concept of local wisdom to attract domestic and international tourists who visit the Muaro Jambi temple compound.
In addition to having a positive impact on the management and conservation of peatlands, as well as generating income for the local community, peat ecotourism can also educate the tourists about the importance of maintaining and protecting peatlands. With more people visiting peatlands, more people will understand the importance of peatlands for human life and other peat ecosystems.
In line with that, the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) has established the Peat Care Village program to maximize the potential of peatlands throughout Indonesia. This program aims to ensure that all communities can be actively involved in improving the welfare of people living on peatlands.
In practice, local governments work closely with the private sector and other institutions within the Peat Hydrological Unit (KHG) to involve local communities in making decisions regarding the potential of peatlands in their area in accordance with the policies and general strategies.
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