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Protecting wildlife habitat in Sumatra

In October 2008, a declaration to protect Sumatra’s  forests was endorsed by  the governors of eight Sumatran provinces, along with the Indonesian ministries of Forestry, Environment, Interior and Public Works. The declaration calls for restoring critical ecosystems in Sumatra and protecting the island’s amazing biodiversity.

 Why is this important?

  • Sumatra is the sixth largest island in the world
  • The island’s tropical forests provide livelihoods for millions of people
  • The island’s peat swamps store vast amounts of carbon
  • The Riau province is prime habitat for such wildlife as the endangered Sumatran elephant and the critically endangered Sumatran tiger
  • Over 100 orangutans have been relocated to this area
  • Our field surveys have found Sumatra has the highest concentration of plant species ever recorded in a single place


Sumatra’s forests are being cut down at one of the fastest rates in the world. From 1985 to 2010, half of the island’s natural forests were lost, at an average rate of 1.3 million acres per year. This rapid deforestation is done to make way for  timber and paper production, most which ends up being unsustainable. And the impact is global. In 2010, a report by WWF and partners on Sumatra found the loss of 30.8 million acres of Sumatran forest since 1985 may have caused 7.5 gigatons of CO2 emissions, earning Sumatra the third-largest emitter of CO2 in the world, behind the U.S. and China.