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New Solution to Deforestation in Sumatra’s Rainforests

Due to the world’s demands for palm oil, timber and pulp an area the size of 300 football pitches is felled every hour in the rainforests of Sumatra.

Commercial loggers seek out Sumatra’s highly prized Dipterocarp, a hardwood tree, which fetches a princely sum on the international market. Then, illegal loggers move in to compete for the best of the leftovers, locals clear land for farming or development and sometimes areas are burned to clear undergrowth, frequently causing catasrophic fires, so that new companies can set up palm oil or commercial pulpwood plantations.

Few give a second thought to the consequences of this mass clearing. Certainly not those of us who use cosmetics every day, paper to write on or demand the best wooden flooring in their bespoke designed house. Now the lowland forests of Sumatra are regarded as some of the most threatened in the world.

Reforestation Programme

But there is hope, a new reforestation programme is under way in Indonesia. Birdlife International and the Royal Society for the Protecton of Birds are working with the managers of Harapan Rainforest to ensure 101,000 hectares are saved from logging.

As a result, thousands of species of plants, birds and animals will be protected as well as the newly identified clouded leopard. The Sumatran rainforest boasts more flora diversity than any other habitat in the world. Let’s hope with this new legislation in place, it will stay that way.