The Beutong Ecosystem is located in Nagan Raya Regency, with an area of approximately 127,000 ha. This area is home to 382 species of birds of which 24 species are endemic Sumatra, 3 species of which are endemic of northern Sumatra and 2 species are endangered by IUCN. Other than, the Beutong Ecosystem is also home to 132 species of mammals and 80 species of reptiles and amphibians.
The biggest threat to the Beutong Ecosystem is forest and habitat destruction caused by forest fragmentation due to road construction without the use of environmental analysis and uncontrolled mining exploitation. In addition, the high level of hunting of animals, especially endemic species, is also a major threat to the existence of the Beutong ecosystem in the future.
KSLH-Aceh and LetsBirding Sumatra in collaboration with the Nagan Raya Library and Archives conducted a training themed “Protecting Bird Habitats with an Ecotourism Development Approach in Beutong Ateuh Banggalang” on 6th February 2021. This activity was supported by the Oriental Bird Club (OBC), which presenting speakers from KSLH-Aceh, LetsBirding Sumatra and the Nagan Raya Tourism Office. The activity was attended by representatives from 4 villages in the Betong Benggalang Subdistrict, the Tourism Awareness Group, members of the Police, members of the TNI, Students, and the Tourism Office.
The Beutong Ecosystem is a potential area to develop ecology-based tourism (ecotourism) with management by local communities. Apart from topography, flora and fauna as well as local wisdom and local culture can also be a great potential in developing ecotourism, especially in Beutong Ateuh Banggalang, a sub-district that is directly adjacent to the Beutong Ecosystem.
Moreover this activity also encourages the Beutong Ateuh Banggalang community together with their village officials to make village regulations for the protection of animals, especially birds as a form of local wisdom in protecting the habitat of endemic animals in the Beutong ecosystem.
Strengthening the community’s economy, followed by sustainable management of the Beutong ecosystem, is an important step to ensure the protection of wildlife habitat, especially endemic birds. With the understanding and awareness of the community, as well as the development of a sustainable economy, the Beutong Ecosystem is expected to continue to provide benefits to the community and the balance of nature can always be maintained.