Since 2007 the site has been designated a ‘National Strategic Area’, affording it some legal protection, due to its important role as a habitat for endangered species, in regulating water supplies for communities living in the lowlands of the province and preventing floods.
Analysis by the NGO HAkA found that deforestation was driven by the expansion of plantations and illegal logging. The Leuser Ecosystem, home to several critically endangered, endemic mammal species, has been heavily impacted by oil palm expansion.
The Minister of Environment and Forestry and Aceh Governor announced a moratorium on forest clearing in June 2016 that has been defied by plantation companies.
Click here to find out more at Mongabay Indonesia (in Bahasa Indonesia).