The Leuser Ecosystem spans the provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Over 35 times the size of Singapore, this majestic and ancient ecosystem covers more than 2.6 million hectares of lowland rainforests, peat swamps, montane and coastal forests and alpine meadows. Globally recognized as one of the richest expanses of tropical rainforest found anywhere in Southeast Asia, the Leuser Ecosystem is also one of Asia’s largest carbon sinks. The Leuser Ecosystem is the last place on earth where orangutans, rhinos, elephants, and tigers co-exist in the wild. All four of these species are now classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Critically Endangered. The Leuser Ecosystem is the only remaining habitat left in Sumatra large enough to sustain viable populations of these species. A publication in leading international journal Science listed the Leuser Ecosystem as “one of the world’s foremost irreplaceable areas.”The Leuser Ecosystem is an essential asset for the economic development of Aceh, providing a total economic value of at least 350 million US dollars per year. The Leuser Ecosystem acts as a life-support system for approximately four million people in Aceh. The primary ecosystem services are fresh water provision and disaster mitigation. The forests of the Leuser Ecosystem act as a sponge, soaking up the downpours of the rainy season and spreading out the release of water downstream more evenly across the months. Deforestation of this environmentally sensitive area is having a dramatic impact by increasing the damage caused by flooding and landslides, and causing economic damage to communities and downstream industry. Locally and globally, the Leuser Ecosystem also has immense environmental value due to its role in climate regulation and carbon storage. Efforts to conserve the Leuser Ecosystem date as far back as the early 19th century, when the traditional leaders of Aceh lobbied the colonial government to protect their natural heritage, ranging from the mountains all the way down to the coast. More recent laws have served to strengthen the protection of the Leuser Ecosystem and placed the responsibility for managing its protection and restoration with the Aceh Provincial Government (Article 150 of National Law on Governing Aceh No. 11/2006). Furthermore, the Leuser Ecosystem in Aceh has special legal status as a National Strategic Area for its Environmental Protection Function (26 of 2007 juncto 26/2008), prohibiting any activities that reduce that function, including cultivation and infrastructure development.

Dataset Attributes

  • FID
  • Area_ha
    357840 to 2281860
  • Name
    {"value"=>"Leuser Ecosystem in North Sumatra Province", "count"=>1} (), {"value"=>"Leuser Ecosystem in Aceh Province", "count"=>1} ()


Related Datasets