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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January 2019 satellite imagery showing forest clearing within PT Surya Panen Subur II’s concession within the Tripa peatland.

CandyMakers Suspend But Fail To Engage PT SPS II To End Deforestation

New satellite data obtained by RAN has revealed continued deforestation taking place within the Tripa peatland — one of the most critical peatlands left in the globally important Leuser Ecosystem. Active forest clearance is taking place in a palm oil concession operated by plantation company PT Surya Panen Subur II (PT SPS II) despite sanctions issued by the Government of Indonesia and despite the suspension of sourcing by some of the Snack Food 20: companies who once relied on this bad actor for cheap Conflict Palm Oil for years even after having made commitments to halt deforestation for candy.

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A Sumatran elephant is killed by a snare set to stop elephants trampling oil palms planted inside a critical lowland rainforest corridor in the Leuser Ecosystem

Elephants are Dying for Palm Oil in the Leuser Ecosystem

New satellite data obtained by RAN has revealed steady, continued deforestation taking place within one of the most critical lowland rainforest habitat corridors left in Indonesia. Located inside the globally important Leuser Ecosystem on the island of Sumatra, the active forest clearance is taking place in a palm oil concession operated by a plantation company called PT Nia Yulded (PT NY) and is occurring despite a presidential moratorium banning any further forest clearance for palm oil, which has included a special emphasis on the need to protect the biologically diverse forests of the Leuser.

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Aerial view of lowland rainforests corridor for Sumatran Elephants that is threatened by palm oil expansion

Elephant Corridor Has Been Cleared by Indonesian State Company Despite Moratorium on Palm Oil by President

GPS: 4° 31′ 9.792″ N, 97° 45′ 9.234″ E

New satellite data obtained by RAN has revealed that a month after President Jokowi announced a three-year moratorium on the issuance of palm oil permits, as well as a review of existing permits, the Indonesian government-linked palm oil company PT Perkebunan Nusantara I (PTPN I) has continued to clear forests within an important corridor for the endangered Sumatran elephant inside the Leuser Ecosystem. PTPN I is operating in breach of the moratorium on forest destruction in the Leuser Ecosystem and should be subject to an investigation by the Indonesian Ministry of  Environment and Forestry.

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