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Jakarta Post

Leuser forest in danger

  • Muamar Vebry

    Program manager for climate change for the European Union delegation to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam

PREMIUM
Jakarta   /   Thu, August 31, 2017   /  08:22 am
Leuser forest in danger This picture taken on May 9, 2017 shows a team of Indonesian forest rangers making their way through the Leuser ecosystem rainforest, located mostly within the province of Aceh on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra. Scientists and conservationists consider the Leuser Ecosystem to be among the most important forests left in Southeast Asia, particularly because it is the last place of sufficient size and quality to support viable populations of rare species like Sumatran tigers, orangutans, rhinos, elephants, clouded leopards and sun bears. (AFP/Chaideer Mahyuddin)

Have you wondered about the extent of the Leuser ecosystem? The world’s third largest tropical rainforest houses four of the most emblematic species, namely the Sumatran elephant, Sumatran tiger, orangutan and Sumatran rhinoceros. Located mostly in Aceh, the tropical rainforest bordering North Sumatra was spared from deforestation happening elsewhere in Indonesia, thanks to years of civil conflict between the government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), which constrained commercial activity. However, following the peace agreement in August 2005, times have been rapidly catching up with Aceh. Today, illegal logging and encroachment areas are as rampant as in Sumatra and Kalimantan. There is growing concern that Aceh’s economic development today could damage Leuser National Park. Land clearing for agricultural development, mining and infrastructure development have had...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.