Rice is one of the most important subsidence crops, however evidence of the origin and domestication of rice cultivation is still scarce in Indonesia. This study aims to trace the beginning of rice cultivation and buffalo husbandry in Sumatra, Indonesia. We carried out palaeoecological multi-proxy analyses of pollen and spores, non-pollen palynomorphs (NPPs) and macro-charcoal analysis on a sediment core from the swamp forest of Danau Bento (DB) in the Kerinci Seblat National Park (KSNP). Our results provide first evidence of buffalo husbandry in the Kerinci at least 4,300 years ago, in line with the migration of the Austronesians to Sumatra. NPPs and pollen results indicate the existence of grassland until about 3,200 cal bp around the site, which was used for buffalo grazing and not for rice cultivation. The rise of Poaceae about 2,500 cal BP suggests the beginning of rice cultivation in the swamp contemporary with a decline in grazing as shown by the NPPs. However, this phase lasted only few centuries until ca 2,100 cal BP. Following the decline of rice cultivation, the swamp remained in use as a grassland for grazing.