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Project August 17, 2022

Orang Rimba, Guardians of Bukit Duabelas

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In the midst of modern civilization, the Orang Rimba's belief in "Bedewo" lives on. The Orang Rimba not only worship their ancestors, but also trees with large crowns and charismatic animals.

Every newborn is given a protective plant, a tenggeris tree (Scyma sp), to care for throughout its life. The baby's placenta is then buried under the sentubung tree (Gonocaryum gracile). Both types of protective trees must not be cut down. Violators are subject to the heaviest customary sanction, "nyawo replace nyawo." Through this belief, the Orang Rimba's bond with nature marks their important role in protecting the jungle.

For generations, a verse has been passed down: "Ado rimbo ado bungo. Ado bungo ado dewo." The forest and all its contents become a tool for performing rituals. From marriage to prayers for healing, hundreds of flowers and crops are required.

All these rituals are now difficult to perform due to the conversion of rainforests in the Bukit Duabelas ecosystem, Jambi. Deforestation of the Bukit Duabelas ecosystem has left 60,000 hectares of the original 130,000 hectares in three decades. The conversion has turned the jungle into gardens, roads, and settlements.

This coverage highlights the biodiversity and wisdom of the Orang Rimba who protect it. In the midst of shrinking forests, how do they survive? The extinction of the rainforest can have an impact on the extinction of a culture with various wisdoms living in it.

This coverage is a collaboration between the Kompas Daily team and Benor FM's Orang Rimba radio, which is affiliated with the KBR Radio network. The hope is that in addition to encouraging the government's commitment to build harmonious policies, this collaboration can strengthen the awareness of the younger generation of Orang Rimba to maintain their wisdom to continue to keep their forest sustainable.