15 Stunning Photos from The Last Place on Earth

The Leuser Ecosystem, one of the most important rainforests in Southeast Asia, is being destroyed for massive industrial development including the expansion of palm oil plantations. Everyday important sections of this precious ecosystem are being systematically cut down, pushing rare species like Sumatran orangutans, elephants and rhinos to the brink of extinction.

A new RAN report exposes the links between palm oil giant Musim Mas Group and this destruction. The destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem has to stop and with your help it will. Take action today and tell Musim Mas to break its ties to the destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem.

The Leuser Ecosystem is a vast, teeming, ancient landscape on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia that covers over 6.5 million acres including lowland and mountainous rainforests and over 460,000 acres of carbon-rich peatlands. It is like nowhere else on Earthit contains some of the world's highest known levels of plant and animal diversity including at least 105 mammal species, 382 bird species, and 95 reptile and amphibian species.




MR7A3781.jpgIt is also home to the largest extent of intact forest landscapes remaining in Sumatra. Scientists and conservationists consider the Leuser Ecosystem to be among the most important forests left in Southeast Asia, particularly because it is the last place in the region of sufficient size and quality to support viable populations of rare species like Sumatran tigers, orangutans, rhinos, elephants, clouded leopards and sun bears. The Leuser Ecosystem is in fact the last place on Earth where all these species can still be found together.



548A7455.jpgThe forests of the Leuser Ecosystem provide a steady, clean water supply to millions of people living in Aceh, a province home to a diverse range of rural communitiesmany of whom have lived in the region for generations and depend on the ecosystem for their food and their livelihoods.

The region also plays a critical role in regulating the global climate by storing massive amounts of carbon in its peatlands and standing forests.




Today, the Leuser Ecosystem exists at a tenuous crossroads. Despite being protected under Indonesian national law, the Leuser Ecosystem is under siege from palm oil plantations and multiple other development plans.

RAN’s new report titled The Last Place on Earth Exposing the Threats to the Leuser Ecosystem: A Global Biodiversity Hotspot Deserving Protection, exposes the links between palm oil giant Musim Mas Group and the destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem.



Musim Mas Group is a large company involved in every step of palm oil production. It has its own plantations and factories across Indonesia and ships palm oil to buyers—including the Snack Food 20—across the globe.

Field evidence outlined in our report shows that Musim Mas Group's refinery at the Port of Belawan in North Sumatra sources crude palm oil from the PT. Pati Sari mill. Field evidence also shows that the PT. Pati Sari mill processes palm oil fruit grown at the expense of rainforests inside the Leuser Ecosystem.



At a time when the largest palm oil traders have committed to cut rainforest destruction and human rights abuses from global supply chains, Musim Mas is delaying taking real action. Musim Mas Group must adopt and implement a leading global responsible palm oil policy. Musim Mas must ensure that all of its suppliers halt the clearance of rainforests and peatlands and resolve existing conflicts with communities who rely on the Leuser Ecosystem for their survival.

The Leuser Ecosystem must be protected for future generations. Take action today and tell Musim Mas to break its ties to the destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem.


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  • commented 2016-02-03 14:40:21 -0800
    Destroying the Sumatra rainforest is simply criminal. When I see how enthusiastically it is being destroyed, I wonder if those people are educated at all. The Sumatran rainforest should be left as it is. It is full of rare and/or extraordinary animals that don’t exist anywhere else on earth. It would be much better for the animals if the vegetation was kept and the forest protected to organize safaris. Have the animals been asked if they agree with the plantation of palm trees where they used to live?
  • commented 2015-11-10 11:34:10 -0800
    what interesting bugs those are the third picture down. please protect the ecosystem where they thrive