Community Struggles for Land Rights and Livelihoods in Singkil-Bengkung region

Tens of thousands of people depend on the intact forests of the Leuser Ecosystem and the area is rife with looming threats and unresolved conflicts between local communities and rogue palm oil plantation operators. The expansion of palm oil plantation companies has harmed community livelihoods by damaging local resources, including agricultural land such as rice fields, and has brought terror, intimidation and criminalization into the lives of local community members.

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Major Brands Again Caught Sourcing Deforestation-Linked Palm Oil

Just weeks after a major undercover field investigation by RAN exposed global food brands as sourcing illegally grown palm oil from within Indonesia’s nationally protected Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve, RAN is releasing fresh evidence of deforestation in the region connected to many of the same brands through a different supplier, PT Laot Bangko.

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A Sumatran elephant in the northeast lowlands of Leuser Ecosystem

Elephant Emergency in the Leuser Ecosystem

Field investigation teams with Rainforest Action Network have documented alarming evidence of fresh forest clearance this past May, 2019 within some of the most important remaining lowland rainforests in Indonesia. Located in the northeast section of the Leuser Ecosystem, the forests being destroyed contain internationally recognized concentrations of biological diversity. In particular, these rich forests are among the most valuable remaining habitat for critically endangered Sumatran elephants, who use the region being deforested as a crucial migration route connecting larger areas of intact forest.

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Forest Loss Rises Sharply in Critical Leuser Ecosystem Lowlands

The amount of rainforest destruction in the Leuser Ecosystem has risen sharply in the critically important northeast lowlands of the Leuser over the first months of 2019. Satellite imagery and field investigations by Rainforest Action Network reveal that eight of the nine palm oil companies with concessions located in the lowland rainforests in the Leuser’s district of Aceh Timur have been actively clearing forests. A total of 606 acres was cleared during January to April 2019.

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