On Indonesia’s island of Sumatra a large expanse of tropical rainforest, known as the Leuser Ecosystem, is home to many endangered species of plants and animals. Among its more famous animals are orangutans, rhinoceros, elephants, and tigers. The ecosystem also provides services for the people of Sumatra such as clean water and flood and erosion protection. Fauzan Azima, the chief of the Leuser Ecosystem Area Management Agency, recently reported that 36,000 hectares of forest in the Leuser Ecosystem have been lost between 2005 and 2009. The main causes of deforestation are reported as illegal logging and forest clearing for roads and palm plantations with additional losses due to mining, migration, and natural disasters. The deforestation estimates were calculated using Landsat data. Given this new information, the Leuser Ecosystem Area Management Agency is considering increasing land and air patrols to stem the tide of illegal logging.

More information:
Leuser International Foundation [external link]
+ NPR: The Green Heart of Sumatra [external link]
+ The Jakarta Globe: 36,000 Hectares of Aceh’s Leuser Ecosystem Lost [external link]