leuser ecosystem

Protecting Leuser to Safeguard Lives and Livelihoods

The Leuser Ecosystem is 6.5 million acres of rainforest on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and the last place on Earth where Sumatran Orangutans, Rhinos, Asian Elephants and Tigers still live together in the wild. The pristine lowland forests, lush peat swamps and cloud-shrouded mountain forests are among the largest remaining intact rainforests in all of Indonesia. The Leuser Ecosystem includes six Key Biodiversity Areas—places critical to the persistence of biodiversity on our planet. 

These rainforests are a carbon storage powerhouse and the source of drinking water and agricultural livelihoods for millions of people. The ecosystem, which is part of the Sundaland Biodiversity Hotspot, is also the customary lands of the Gayo, Alas, Kluet, Aneuk Jamee and Karo Indigenous peoples. 

The Leuser ecosystem is under constant threat from new palm oil plantations, roads, logging, poaching, mining, energy projects and paper plantations. 

In response, a network of grassroots activists across the region have emerged to protect this wildland. Acting on the ground with communities, through local political channels and at the international level, these heroic and visionary guardians are taking a stand to protect this precious environment from the many threats it faces. 

The Re:wild Solution

Re:wild, as the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, partnered with several committed philanthropists to create the Leuser Ecosystem Action Fund (LEAF) to raise new resources to support these guardians of Leuser. Whether they are focused on orangutan rehabilitation and release, or working with Sumatran Rhino protection patrols to prevent poaching, support from the fund allows partners to scale up their work and focus on the long-term impact of their programs. Supporting this incredible group of dedicated organizations offers the best hope of protecting this irreplaceable ecosystem, the iconic species that live there, and the countless lives and livelihoods that depend on the survival and protection of Leuser. 

Re:wild is also a partner of Sumatran Rhino Rescue, a groundbreaking partnership working under the strategic direction of the government of Indonesia focusing on relocating rhinos to establish a national conservation breeding program. Led by the government, the alliance’s goal is to increase the population to at least 80 individuals in at least two sites by 2025.

Partners

Wild Facts

  • The Leuser Ecosystem is the last place on Earth where Sumatran Orangutans, Rhinos, Asian Elephants and Tigers still live together in the wild.

  • Home to more than 105 mammal species, 382 bird species and 95 reptile and amphibian species.

  • Leuser is one of the planet’s most ancient forest ecosystems.

Solutions

Ecosystem Restoration

Supporting extensive native habitat restoration, such as reforestation, that assists in the recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded or destroyed, but that can rebound and rewild with a little help.

wildlife crime prevention

Developing community-led and owned prevention strategies that take into account the societal and cultural drivers of wildlife crime, and implementing systems and technology to stop poachers before a crime is even committed.

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protected area management

Improving the way protected and conserved areas are managed—involving communities, Indigenous peoples, sociology, economics, business management, and wildlife crime prevention—to ensure a safer future for biodiversity and local communities.

Advocating for Earth

Building a team of engaged global citizens by inspiring changes in daily habits and promoting individual and collective actions that drive real and lasting change. We harness our platforms and reach to generate international attention around imminent threats to wildlife and wildlands and the communities who rely on them, usually from extractive industries, to positively influence decision-makers and other stakeholders.

action funds

Collaborating on increasing the availability of conservation resources and grantmaking to support partners and guardians across the world in implementing the most transformative nature-based solutions.

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