The Leuser Ecosystem

The Leuser Ecosystem is one of the worlds' richest, yet least known and threatened forest ecosystems. Over 2.6 million hectares spans the provinces of Aceh (80%) and North Sumatra (20%) on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. The Gunung Leuser National Park makes up around one third of the total area. This ancient ecosystem is of global importance and one of the largest in-tact forests left in South East Asia. The Leuser's legal status as a National Strategic Area for its Environmental Protection Function (26 of 2007 juncto 26/2008), prohibits any activity that reduces this function, which includes cultivation and infrastructure development.  National Strategic Areas are so designated due to conservation importance biodiversity levels. The Leuser Ecosystem is the last place on Earth where Sumatran orangutans, rhinoceros, elephants and tigers still co-exist and is the last stronghold for all of these critically endangered species. The Leuser is of global significance for a number of reasons:

  • Over four million people rely on the services the ecosystem provides

  • It is a crucial watershed area, providing protection from environmental disaster such as flooding and drought

  • Its' peat swamps are huge carbon sinks, storing significant amounts of carbon

  • It is crucial habitat for the last viable populations of Sumatran orangutans (around 90% live in the Leuser), tigers, elephants and rhinoceros

  • It holds significant economic value 

Read more HERE about the importance of and threats to the Leuser Ecosyem

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