The Leuser Ecosystem
At six and a half million acres, Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem is a world unto itself—a rich and verdant expanse of rare, unbroken, tropical lowland rainforests, cloud-draped mountains and steamy peat swamps.
The Leuser Ecosystem is among the most ancient and life-rich ecosystems ever documented by science, and is the last place on Earth where Sumatran orangutans, elephants, tigers, rhinos and sun bears still roam the same habitat.
Located mostly within the province of Aceh on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra, it is by every measure a world-class hotspot of biodiversity and is widely acknowledged to be among the most important areas of intact rainforest left in all of Southeast Asia.
But the Leuser Ecosystem exists at a tenuous crossroads. Despite being technically protected under Indonesian national law, industrial development for palm oil, pulp and paper plantations and mining continues to threaten the entire ecosystem, as well as the wellbeing of millions of Acehnese people who depend on it for their food, water and livelihoods