Of all the special places on earth that are deserving of protection, there is one in particular—Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem on the north tip of Sumatra—that Rainforest Action Network has decided to double down and defend, and we hope you will join us to do so too.
At 6.5 million acres, the Leuser Ecosystem is a world unto itself—a rich and verdant expanse of intact tropical lowland rainforests, cloud draped mountains and steamy peat swamps. It is among the most biodiverse and ancient ecosystems ever documented by science, and it is the last place where orangutans, elephants, tigers, rhinos and sun bears still roam side by side.
But the Leuser Ecosystem exists at a tenuous crossroads. Despite being protected under Indonesian national law, massive industrial development for palm oil, pulp and paper plantations and mining threaten the entire ecosystem, as well as the continued wellbeing of the millions of people who depend on it for their food, water and livelihoods.
For the past year, Rainforest Action Network has been working closely with our allies in Sumatra to research, investigate and document the threats to this extraordinary area and today we release the results of those efforts in a report titled, The Last Place on Earth Exposing the Threats to the Leuser Ecosystem: A Global Biodiversity Hotspot Deserving Protection.
This report explains why the Leuser Ecosystem is so important to preserve and it outlines the imminent threats that are steadily eating away at its edges. But most importantly, the report names the companies who are responsible for this destruction and makes specific recommendations for decision makers to take action before it’s too late.
In particular, the report identifies links between the destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem and palm oil giant Musim Mas Group. Field evidence connects its refinery to a mill that processes palm oil fruit grown inside the Leuser Ecosystem. As the palm oil trader most at risk of trafficking Conflict Palm Oil sourced from the Leuser Ecosystem, Musim Mas Group must break its ties to the destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem immediately.
Who is Musim Mas Group? 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. 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.
The fate of this crown jewel of Indonesia’s natural legacy depends on choices made and actions taken now. Will you stand with the local communities and wildlife of the Leuser Ecosystem and raise your voice today to protect it?
Long live the Leuser Ecosystem.
Laurel Sutherlin, RAN’s Senior Communications Strategist, speaks about Conflict Palm Oil expansion in the Leuser Ecosystem.
Photo credit: Paul Hilton