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Padang-Sugihan Wildlife Reserve

2°43'-3°00'S, 105°00'-105°15'E; 45km northeast of Palembang, Sumatra Selatan Province, Sumatra.

75,000 ha.


Biogeographical Province:

Wetland type:
11 & 21.

Description of site:
A large reserve containing a patchwork of peat swamp forest, swampy grassland, riverine swamp forest and drier Melaleuca forest. All habitats are periodically flooded to a maximum depth of 1.0-l.5m, and the peat swamp forest is flooded for most of the year. Although some 35 km from the coast, the region is still under the influence of a diurnal tide with one high and one low water in a 24 hour period. The tidal range at the coast is about 2.6m. The reserve is transected by five man-made primary canals, with a sixth forming the reserve's northern boundary. Secondary canals some two km in length branch off at right angles, at approximately 400m intervals. In total, there are some 92 km of primary and 670 km of secondary canals in the reserve. These were dug when the area was being prepared for transmigrant settlers, before the establishment of the reserve. The main canals are l5m wide, and the secondary canals are 2-3m wide. The east and west borders of the reserve are the meandering Sugihan and Padang Rivers, respectively; both are large blackwater rivers, very acidic and heavily stained with tannins and dissolved compounds.

Climatic conditions:
Humid tropical climate, with a single pronounced dry season of about three months centred around July, and a wet season of five or six months centred around December and January.

Principal vegetation:
Riverine swamp forest, peat swamp forest and drier Melaleuca leucodendron forest; open grassland along the Sugihan River. Peat swamp forest is the main forest type in the reserve; it is characterized by species of Shorea, Aistonia, Dyera, Gonostylus and Oncosperma. The understorey is dominated by Licuala palms. Riverine swamp forest, peat swamp, rice paddies, other agricultural land and alang-alang scrub occur in surrounding areas.

Land tenure:
The reserve is state owned (PHPA). There are some small communities around the reserve, and additional land has been given out to transmigrant settlers, at 2.5 ha per family.

Conservation measures taken:
The entire area (75,000 ha) was designated as a Wildlife Reserve (Suaka Margasatwa) by the Ministry of Forestry in April 1983. In theory, the public has no unauthorized access, and no hunting or harvesting of forest products is allowed.

Conservation measures proposed:
Nash and Nash have proposed that all unofficial access routes into the reserve (particularly the main canals) be closed off to prevent illegal logging, wood-cutting, hunting and fishing.

Land use:
Wildlife reserve; fishing, some logging and agriculture in surrounding areas.

Disturbances and threats:
There is a considerable amount of illegal logging in the swamp forest, cutting of Melaleuca trees for poles, poaching of Sambar Deer and monitor lizards, and fishing with lines, nets and dynamite within the reserve. The reserve waterways are used as short-cuts for motorboat traffic between the two main rivers, and the resulting disturbance affects the distribution of the shy Hairy-nosed Otter Lutra sumatrana. The area around the reserve is either already cleared for settlement, or is categorized as conversion forest, which means that areas still forested will be cleared. This will isolate the reserve, forming an island of forest surrounded by cleared agricultural land.

Economic and social values:
The reserve is of considerable value for scientific research. It is the only protected peat swamp area in Sumatra Selatan Province, and one of only two in Sumatra. It has great potential for conservation education, as it is readily accessible from the large city of Palembang.

At least six individuals of the endangered White-winged Wood-Duck Cairina scutulata were present in the reserve in 1985-86, and the rare Storm's Stork Ciconia (episcopus) stormi is resident. Other waterfowl include Anhinga melanogaster, Ixobrychus sinensis, I. cinnamomeus, Ardeola speciosa, several species of Egretta, Ardea purpurea, A. cinerea, Mycteria cinerea, Leptoptilos javanicus, Dendrocygna sp, Amaurornis phoenicurus, Gelochelidon nilotica and Sterna hirundo. Birds of prey include the raptors Haliastur indus, Haliaeetus leucogaster, Ichthyophaga nana and I. ichthyaetus, and the fish-owl Ketupa ketupu. Eleven species of kingfisher have been recorded: Alcedo atthis, A. meninting, A. euryzoua, Ceyx erithacus, C. rufidorsus. Pelargopsis capensis, Halcyon coromanda, H. smyrnensis, H. pileata. H. chioris and H. concreta. The Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis is unusually common.

The very rich mammalian fauna includes the Sumatran Tiger (11-17 individuals), Leopard Cat, Fishing Cat, Sumatran Elephant, Malayan Sunbear, Hairy-nosed Otter, Small-clawed Otter, Masked Palm Civet, Otter Civet, Dark-handed Gibbon (two groups), Pig-tailed Macaque, Long-tailed Macaque, Silvered Leaf Monkey, Greater Mouse Deer, Lesser Mouse Deer, Wild Boar, Bearded Pig, Sambar (Panthera tigris sumatrae, Felis bengalensis, F. viverrina, Elephas maximus sumatranus, Helarctos malayanus, Lutra sumatrana, Aonyx cinerea, Paguma larvata, Cynogale bennettii, Hylobates agilis, Macaca nemestrima, Macaca fascicularis, Presbilys cristalus, Tragulus napu, T. javanicus, Sus scrofa, S. barbatus, Cervus unicolor) and many smaller species such as Tupara sp, Ratufa bicolor, Callosciurus not atus, C. prevosti, Nannosciurus melanotis, Petaurista elegans, Megaderma spasma and Pteropus vampyrus. By December 1982, 232 Asian Elephants had been driven into the area; an elephant translocation of this magnitude had never before been attempted in Indonesia. Present data suggest that the number of elephants has not changed much, if at all, from the original 232 individuas. This is the world's largest single herd of the species, and the highest density in the wild. Estuarine Crocodiles Crocodylus porosus were introduced into the reserve in 1983-84.

Special floral values:
The reserve contains a good example of Sumatran peat swamp forest. Ferns and orchids are present in abundance, and good examples of the giant orchid Grammatophyllum speciosum have been noted.

Research and facilities:
A study of the elephant population, other large mammals and birds of the reserve was carried out by Nash and Nash between September 1984 and October 1985 under WWF/IUCN Project 3133. A small wooden house maintained by PHPA is available for visiting scientists.

MacKinnon & Setiono (1983); Nash & Nash (1985a, 1985b, 1985c, l985d, 1985e, 1985f, 1985g. 1985h & l986b); Nash & Philp (1985).

Criteria for Inclusion:
1b, 2a, 2b, 3b.

Marcel J. Silvius and Stephen and Anne Nash.